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THE RED and 


a Cbronicle of 1830 


Translated by HORACE B. SAMUEL, M.A., 

Late Scholar Corpus Christi College, Oxford 



New York: E, P. DUTTON and Co. 

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3f(535 "brary 



SOME slight sketch of the life and character of 
Stendhal is particularly necessary to an understanding 
of Le Rouge et Le Noir {The Red and the Black) not 
so much as being the formal stuffing of which introduc- 
tions are made, but because the book as a book stands 
in the most intimate relation to the author's life and 
character. The hero, Julien, is no doubt, viewed 
superficially, a cad, a scoundrel, an assassin, albeit a 
person who will alternate the moist eye of the senti- 
mentalist with the ferocious grin of the beast of 
prey. But Stendhal so far from putting forward any 
excuses makes a specific point of wallowing defiantly 
in his own alleged wickedness. " Even assuming that 
Julien is a villain and that it is my portrait," he wrote 
shortly after the publication of the book, " why quarrel 
with me. In the time of the Emperor, Julien would 
have passed for a very honest man. I lived in the 
time of the Emperor. So but what does it matter ? " 
Henri Beyle was born in 1783 in Grenoble in 
Dauphiny, the son of a royalist lawyer, situated on 
the borderland between the gentry and that bourgeoisie 
which our author was subsequently to chastise with that 
malice peculiar to those who spring themselves from the 
class which they despise. The boy's character was a 
compound of sensibility and hard rebelliousness, virility 
and introspection. Orphaned of his mother at the age 


of seven, hated by his father and unpopular with his 
schoolmates, he spent the orthodox unhappy childhood 
of the artistic temperament. Winning a scholarship at 
the Ecole Polytechnique at the age of sixteen he pro- 
ceeded to Paris, where with characteristic independence 
he refused to attend the college classes and set himself 
to study privately in his solitary rooms. 

In 1800 the influence of his relative M. Daru pro- 
cured him a commission in the French Army, and the 
Marengo campaign gave him an opportunity of practis- 
ing that Napoleonic worship to which throughout his life 
he remained consistently faithful, for the operation of the 
philosophical materialism of the French sceptics on an 
essentially logical and mathematical mind soon swept 
away all competing claimants for his religious adoration; 
Almost from his childhood, moreover, he had abomin- 
ated the Jesuits, and " Papism is the source of all 
crimes," was throughout his life one of his favourite 

After the army's triumphant entry into Milan, Beyle 
returned to Grenoble on furlough, whence he dashed off 
to Paris in pursuit of a young woman to whom he was 
paying some attention, resigned his commission in the 
army and set himself to study " with the view of becoming 
a great man." It is in this period that we find the most 
marked development in Beyle's enthusiasm of psy- 
chology. This tendancy sprang primarily no doubt 
from his own introspection. For throughout his 
life Beyle enjoyed the indisputable and at times 
dubious luxury of a double consciousness. He in- 
variably carried inside his brain a psychological mirror 
which reflected every phrase of his emotion with 
scientific accuracy. And simultaneously, the critical 


spirit, half-genie, half-demon inside his brain, would 
survey in the semi-detached mood of a keenly interested 
spectator, the actual emotion itself, applaud or con- 
demn it as the case might be, and ticket the verdict 
with ample commentations in the psychological register 
of its own analysis. 

But this trend to psychology, while as we have 
seen, to some extent, the natural development of mere 
self-analysis was also tinged with the spirit of self- 
preservation. With a mind, which in spite of its natural 
physical courage was morbidly susceptible to ridicule 
and was only too frequently the dupe of the fear of 
being duped, Stendhal would scent an enemy in every 
friend, and as a mere matter of self-protection set 
himself to penetrate the secret of every character with 
which he came into contact. One is also justified in 
taking into account an honest intellectual enthusiasm 
which found its vent in deciphering the rarer and more 
precious manuscripts of the "human document." 

With the exception of a stay in Marseilles, with his 
first mistress Melanie Guilhert (" a charming actress who 
had the most refined sentiments and to whom I never 
gave a sou,") and a subsequent sojourn in Grenoble, 
Stendhal remained in Paris till 1806, living so far as was 
permitted by the modest allowance of his niggard father 
the full life of the literary temperament. The essence^ 
however, of his character was that he was at the same 
time a man of imagination and a man of action. We 
consequently find him serving in the Napoleonic cam- 
paigns of 1806, 1809 and 1 81 2. He was present at the 
Battle of Jena, came several times into personal contact 
with Napoleon, discharged with singular efficiency the 
administration of the State of Brunswick, and retained 


his sang-froid and his bravery during the whole of the 
panic-stricken retreat of the Moscow campaign. 

It is, moreover, to this period that we date Stendhal's 
liaison with Mme. Daru the wife of his aged relative, 
M. Daru. This particular intrigue has, moreover, a 
certain psychological importance in that Mme. Daru 
constituted the model on whom Mathilde de la Mole was 
drawn in The Red and the Black. The student and 
historian consequently who is anxious to check how far 
the novelist is drawing on his experience and how far on 
his imagination can compare with profit the description 
of the Mathilde episode in The Red and the Black with 
those sections in Stendhal's Journal entitled the Life 
and Sentiments of Silencious Harry, Memoirs of my Life 
during my Amour with Countess Palfy, and also with 
the posthumous fragment, Le Consultation de Banti, a 
piece of methodical deliberation on the pressing question. 
" Dois-je ou ne dois-je pas avoir la duchesse ? " written 
with all the documentary coldness of a Government 
report. It is characteristic that both Bansi and Julien 
decide in the affirmative as a matter of abstract principle. 
For they both feel that they must necessarily reproach 
themselves in after life if they miss so signal an 

Disgusted by the Restoration, Stendhal migrated in 
1 8 14 to Milan, his favourite town in Europe, whose rich 
and varied life he savoured to the full from the cele- 
brated ices in the entreates of the opera, to the re- 
ciprocated interest of Mme. Angelina Pietragrua (the 
Duchesse de Sansererina of the Chartreuse of Parma), 
" a sublime wanton a la Lucrezia Borgia " who would 
appear to have deceived him systematically. It was in 
Milan that Stendhal first began to write for publication, 


producing in 1814 The Lives of Haydn and Mozart, and 
in 18 17 a series of travel sketches, Rome, Naples, Florence, 
which was published in London. 

It was in Milan also than Stendhal first nursed the 
abstract thrills of his grand passion for Metilde Countess 
Dunbowska, whose angelic sweetness would seem to 
have served at any rate to some extent as a prototype 
to the character of Mme. de Renal. In 1821 the novelist 
was expelled from Milan on the apparently unfounded 
accusation of being a French spy. It is typical of that 
mixture of brutal sensuality and rarefied sentimentalism 
which is one of the most fascinating features of Stendhal's 
character, that even though he had never loved more 
than the lady's heart, he should have remained for three 
years faithful to this mistress of his ideal. 

In 1822 Stendhal published his treatise, De l'Amour, 
a practical scientific treatise on the erotic emotion by 
an author who possessed the unusual advantage of 
being at the same time an acute psychologist and a 
brilliant man of the world, who could test abstract 
theories by concrete practice and could co-ordinate what 
he had felt in himself and observe in others into broad 
general principles. 

In 1825 Stendhal plunging vigorously into the con- 
troversy between the Classicists and the Romanticists, 
published his celebrated pamphlet, Racine and Shakes- 
peare, in which he vindicated with successful crispness 
the claims of live verse against sterotyped couplets and 
of modern analysis against historical tradition. His 
next work was the Life of Rossini, whom he had known 
personally in Milan, while in 1827 he published his first 
novel Armance, which, while not equal to the author's 
greatest work, give none the less good promise of that 



analytical dash which he was subsequently to manifest. 
After Armance come the well-known Promenades 
Rome, while the Stendhalian masterpiece Le Rouge et 
Le Noir was presented in 1830 to an unappreciative 

Enthusiasm for this book is the infallible test of your 
true Stendhalian. Some critics may prefer, possibly, 
the more Jamesian delicacy of Armance, and others 
fortified by the example of Goethe may avow their 
predilection for The Chartreuse de Parme with all the 
jeune premier charm of its amiable hero. But in our 
view no book by Stendhal is capable of giving the 
reader such intellectual thrills as that work which has 
been adjudged to be his greatest by Balzac, by Taine, 
by Bourget. Certainly no other book by Stendal than 
that which has conjured up Rougistes in all countries in 
Europe has been the object of a cult in itself. We 
doubt, moreover, if there is any other modern book 
whether by Stendhal or any one else, which has actually 
been learnt by heart by its devotees, who, if we may 
borrow the story told by M. Paul Bourget, are ac- 
customed to challenge the authenticity of each other's 
knowledge by starting off with some random passage 
only to find it immediately taken up, as though the 
book had been the very Bible itself. 

The more personal appeal of what is perhaps the 
greatest romance of the intellect ever written lies in 
the character of Julien, its villain-hero. In view of the 
identification of Julien with Stendal himself to which 
we have already alluded, it is only fair to state that 
Stendhal does not appear to have ever been a tutor in 
a bourgeois family, nor does history relate his ever 
having made any attempt at the homicide of a woman. 


So far, in fact, as what we may call the external physical 
basis of the story is concerned, the material is supplied 
not by the life of the author, but by the life of a young 
student of Besancon, of the name of Berthet, who duly 
expiated on the threshold that crime which supplied the 
plot of this immortal novel. But the soul, the brain of 
Julien is not Berthet but Beyle. And what indeed is 
the whole book if not a vindication of beylisme, if we 
may use the word, coined by the man himself for his 
own outlook on life ? For the procedure of Stendhal 
would seem to have placed his own self in his hero's 
shoes, to have lived in imagination his whole life, and to 
have recorded his experience with a wealth of analytic 
detail, which in spite of some arrogance, is yet both 
honest and scientific. 

And the life of this scoundrel, this ingrate, this assassin, 
certainly seems to have been eminently worth living. 
In its line, indeed, it constitutes a veritable triumph of 
idealism, a positive monument of " self-help." For 
judged by the code of the Revolution, when the career 
was open to talents, the goodness or badness of a man 
was determined by the use he made of his opportunities. 
Efficiency was the supreme test of virtue, as was failure 
the one brand of unworthiness. And measured by these 
values Julien ranks high as an ethical saint. For does 
he not sacrifice everything to the forgiving of his char- 
acter and the hammering out of his career ? He is by 
nature nervous, he forces himself to be courageous, 
fighting a duel or capturing a woman, less out of thirst 
for blood or hunger for flesh, than because he thinks it 
due to his own parvenu self-respect to give himself 
some concrete proof on his own moral force. " Pose 
and affection " will sneer those enemies whom he will 


have to-day as assuredly as he had them in his lifetime, 
the smug bourgeois and Valenods of our present age. 
But the spirit of Julien will retort, " I made myself 
master of my affectation and I succeeded in my pose." 
And will he not have logic on his side ? For what after 
all is pose but the pursuit of a subjective ideal, grotesque 
no doubt in failure, but dignified by its success. And 
as M. Gaultier has shown in his book on Bovarysme, is 
not all human progress simply the deliberate change 
from what one is, into what one is not yet, but what 
nevertheless one has a tendency to be ? Viewed from 
this standpoint Julien's character is what one feels 
justified in calling a bond fide pose. For speaking 
broadly his character is two-fold, half-sensitive tender- 
ness, half ferocious ambition, and his pose simply con- 
sists in the subordination of his softer qualities for the 
more effective realization of his harder. Considered 
on these lines Le Rouge et Le Noir stands pre- 
eminent in European literature as the tragedy of energy 
and ambition, the epic of the struggle for existence, the 
modern Bible of Nietzchean self-discipline. And from 
the sheer romantic aspect also the book has its own 
peculiar charm. How truly poetic, for instance, are the 
passages where Julien takes his own mind alone into 
the mountains, plots out his own fate, and symbolizes 
his own solitary life in the lonely circlings of a predatory 

Julien's enemies will no doubt taunt him with his 
introspection, while they point to a character distorted, 
so they say, by the eternal mirror of its own conscious- 
ness. Yet it should be remembered that Julien lived in 
an age when introspection had, so to speak, been only 
ecently invented, and Byronism and Wertherism were 


the stock food of artistic temperaments. In the case of 
julien, moreover, even though his own criticisms on his 
own acts were to some extent as important to him as 
the actual acts themselves, his introspection was more 
a strength than a weakness and never blunted the edge 
of his drastic action. Compare, for instance, the char- 
acter of Julien with the character of Robert Greslou, 
the hero of Bourget's Le Disciple, and the nearest 
analogue to Julien in fin de siecle literature, and one 
will appreciate at once the difference between health 
and decadence, virility and hysteria. 

One of the most essential features of the book, how- 
ever, is the swing of the pendulum between Julien's 
ambition and Julien's tenderness. For our hunter is 
quite frequently caught in his own traps, so that he falls 
genuinely in love with the woman whom, as a matter 
of abstract principle, he had specifically set himself to 
conquer. The book consequently as a romance of 
love, ranks almost as high as it does as a romance of 
ambition. The final idyll in prison with Mme. de Renal, 
in particular, is one of the sweetest and purest in 
literature, painted in colours too true ever to be florid, 
steeped in a sentiment too deep ever to be mawkish. 
As moreover, orthodox and surburban minds tend to 
regard all French novels as specifically devoted to 
obscene wallowings, it seems only relevant to mention 
that Stendhal at any rate never finds in sensualism any 
inspiration for ecstatic rhapsodies, and that he narrates 
the most specific episodes in the chastest style 

Though too the sinister figure of the carpenter's son 
looms large over the book, the characterization of all 
the other personages is portrayed with consummate 


brilliancy. For Stendhal standing first outside his 
characters with all the sceptical scrutiny of a detached 
observer, then goes deep inside them so that he de- 
scribes not merely what they do, but why they do it, 
not merely what they think, but why they think it, 
while he assigns their respective share to innate dis- 
position, accident, and environment, and criticizes his 
creations with an irony that is only occasionally 
benevolent. For it must be confessed that Stendhal 
approves of extremely few people. True scion of the 
middle-classes he hates the bourgeois because he is 
bourgeois, and the aristocrat because he is aristocrat. 
Nevertheless, as a gallery of the most varied characters, 
patricians and plebeians, prudes and profligates, Jesuits 
and Jansenists, Kings and coachmen, bishops and 
bourgeois, whose mutual difference acts as a most 
effective foil to each other's reality, Le Rouge et Le Noir 
will beat any novel outside Balzac. 

We would mention in particular those two contrasted 
figures, Mme. de R6nal the bourgeoise passionee, and 
Matilde de la Mole the noble damozel who enters into 
her intrigue out of a deliberate wish to emulate the 
exploits of a romantic ancestress. But after all these 
individuals stand out not so much because their char- 
acterization is better than that of their fellow-personages, 
but because it is more elaborate. Even such minor 
characters, for instance, as de Frilair, the lascivious 
Jesuit, Noiraud, the avaricious gaoler, Mme. de Fervaqus, 
the amoristic prude, are all in their respective ways real, 
vivid, convincing, no mere padded figures of the im- 
agination, but observed actualities swung from the 
lived life en the written page. 

The style of Stendhal is noticeable from its simplicity, 


clear and cold, devoid of all literary artifice, characteristic 
of his analytic purpose. He is strenuous in his avoid- 
ance of affection. Though, however, he never holds 
out his style as an aesthetic delight in itself, he reaches 
occasionally passages of a rare and simple beauty. We 
would refer in particular to the description of Julien in 
the mountains, which we have already mentioned, and 
to the short but impressive death scene. His habit, 
however, of using language as a means and never as an 
end, occasionally revenges itself upon him in places 
where the style, though intelligible, is none the less 
slovenly, anacoluthic, almost Thucydidean. 

After the publication of Le Rouge et Le Noir Stendhal 
was forced by his financial embarrassment to leave Paris 
and take up the post of consul at Trieste. Driven from 
this position by the intrigues of a vindictive Church he 
was transferred to Civita Vecchia where he remainted till 
1835, solacing his ennui by the compilation of his auto- 
biography and thinking seriously of marriage with the 
rich and highly respectable daughter of his laundress. 
He then returned to Paris where he remained till 1842, 
where he died suddenly at the age of fifty-nine in the 
full swiug of all his mental and physical activities. 

His later works included, La Chartreuse de Panne, 
Lucien, Leuwen and Lamiel, of which the Chartreuse is 
the most celebrated, but Lamiel certainly the most 
sprightly. But it is on Le Rouge et Le Noir that his 
fame as a novelist is the most firmly based. It is with 
this most personal document, this record of his ex- 
periences and emotions that he lives identified, just as 
D'Annunzio will live identified with // Fuoco or Mr. 
Wells with the New Macchiavelli. Le Rouge et Le Noir 
js the greatest novel of its age and one of the greatest 


novels of the whole nineteenth century. It is full to the 

brim of intellect and adventure, introspection and action, 

youth, romance, tenderness, cynicism and rebellion. It 

is in a word the intellectual quintessence of the 

Napoleonic era. 

Oct., 1913. 

The Red and the Black 




Put thousands together less bad, 
But the cage less gay. Hobbs, 

The little town of Verrieres can pass for one of the prettiest 
in Franche-Comte\ Its white houses with their pointed red- 
tiled roofs stretch along the slope of a hill, whose slightest 
undulations are marked by groups of vigorous chestnuts. The 
Doubs flows to within some hundred feet above its fortifications, 
which were built long ago by the Spaniards, and are now in 

Verrieres is sheltered on the north by a high mountain 
which is one of the branches of the Jura. The jagged peaks 
of the Verra are covered with snow from the beginning of the 
October frosts. A torrent which rushes down from the 
mountains traverses Verrieres before throwing itself into the 
Doubs, and supplies the motive power for a great number of 
saw mills. The industry is very simple, and secures a certain 
prosperity to the majority of the inhabitants who are more 
peasant than bourgeois. It is not, however, the wood saws 
which have enriched this little town. It is the manufacture of 
painted tiles, called Mulhouse tiles, that is responsible for 
that general affluence which has caused the facades of nearly 
all the houses in Verrieres to be rebuilt since the fall of 

One has scarcely entered the town, before one is stunned 



by the din of a strident machine of terrifying aspect. 
Twenty heavy hammers which fall with a noise that makes 
the paved floor tremble, are lifted up by a wheel set in 
motion by the torrent. Each of these hammers manufactures 
every day I don't know how many thousands of nails. 
The little pieces of iron which are rapidly transformed into 
nails by these enormous hammers, are put in position by 
fresh pretty young girls. This labour so rough at first sight is 
one of the industries which most surprises the traveller who 
penetrates for the first time the mountains which separate 
France and Helvetia. If when he enters Verrieres, the traveller 
asks who owns this fine nail factory which deafens everybody 
who goes up the Grande-Rue, he is answered in a drawling tone 
"Eh I it belongs to M. the Mayor." 

And if the traveller stops a few minutes in that Grande- 
Rue of Verrieres which goes on an upward incline from the 
bank of the Doubs to nearly as far as the summit of the hill, 
it is a hundred to one that he will see a big man with a busy 
and important air. 

When he comes in sight all hats are quickly taken off. 
His hair is grizzled and he is dressed in grey. He is a Knight 
of several Orders, has a large forehead and an aquiline nose, 
and if you take him all round, his features are not devoid of 
certain regularity. One might even think on the first 
inspection that it combines with the dignity of the village 
mayor that particular kind of comfortableness which is 
appropriate to the age of forty-eight or fifty. But soon the 
traveller from Paris will be shocked by a certain air of self- 
satisfaction and self-complacency mingled with an almost 
indefinable narrowness and lack of inspiration. One realises 
at last that this man's talent is limited to seeing that he is 
paid exactly what he is owed, and in paying his own debts 
at the latest possible moment. 

Such is M. de Renal, the mayor of Verrieres. After having 
crossed the road with a solemn step, he enters the mayoral 
residence and disappears from the eye of the traveller. But 
if the latter continues to walk a hundred steps further up, he 
will perceive a house with a fairly fine appearance, with some 
magnificent gardens behind an iron grill belonging to the 
house. Beyond that is an horizon line formed by the hills 
of Burgundy, which seem ideally made to delight the eyes. 


This view causes the traveller to forget that pestilential 
atmosphere of petty money-grubbing by which he is beginning 
to be suffocated. 

He is told that this house belongs to M. de Renal. It is 
to the profits which he has made out of his big nail factory that 
the mayor of Verrieres owes this fine residence of hewn stone 
which he is just finishing. His family is said to be Spanish 
and ancient, and is alleged to have been established in the 
country well before the conquest of Louis XIV. 

Since 1815, he blushes at being a manufacturer: 1815 
made him mayor of Verrieres. The terraced walls of this 
magnificent garden which descends to the Doubs, plateau by 
plateau, also represent the reward of M. de Renal's proficiency 
in the iron-trade. Do not expect to find in France those 
picturesque gardens which surround the manufacturing towns 
of Germany, like Leipsic, Frankfurt and Nurenburgh, etc. The 
more walls you build in Franche-Comte and the more you 
fortify your estate with piles of stone, the more claim you will 
acquire on the respect of your neighbours. Another reason 
for the admiration due to M. de Renal's gardens and their 
numerous walls, is the fact that he has purchased, through 
sheer power of the purse, certain small parcels of the ground 
on which they stand. That saw-mill, for instance, whose 
singular position on the banks of the Doubs struck you when 
you entered Verrieres, and where you notice the name of 
SOREL written in gigantic characters on the chief beam of the 
roof, used to occupy six years ago that precise space on which 
is now reared the wall of the fourth terrace in M. de Renal's 

Proud man that he was, the mayor had none the less to 
negotiate with that tough, stubborn peasant, old Sorel. He 
had to pay him in good solid golden louis before he could 
induce him to transfer his workshop elsewhere. As to the 
public stream which supplied the motive power for the saw- 
mill, M. de Renal obtained its diversion, thanks to the 
influence which he enjoyed at Paris. This favour was 
accorded him after the election of 182 . 

He gave Sorel four acres for every one he had previously 
held, five hundred yards lower down on the banks of the 
Doubs. Although this position was much more advantageous 
for his pine-plank trade, father Sorel (as he is called since he 


has become rich) knew how to exploit the impatience and 
mania for landed ownership which animated his neighbour 
to the tune of six thousand francs. 

It is true that this arrangement was criticised by the wise- 
acres of the locality. One day, it was on a Sunday four years 
later, as M. de Renal was coming back from church in his 
mayor's uniform, he saw old Sorel smiling at him, as he 
stared at him some distance away surrounded by his three 
sons. That smile threw a fatal flood of light into the soul 
of the mayor. From that time on, he is of opinion that he 
could have obtained the exchange at a cheaper rate. 

In order to win the public esteem of Verrieres it is essential 
that, though you should build as many walls as you can, you 
should not adopt some plan imported from Italy by those 
masons who cross the passes of the Jura in the spring on 
their way to Paris. Such an innovation would bring down 
upon the head of the imprudent builder an eternal reputation 
for wrongheadedness, and he will be lost for ever in the sight 
of those wise, well-balanced people who dispense public esteem 
in Franche-Comte. 

As a matter of fact, these prudent people exercise in the 
place the most offensive despotism. It is by reason of this 
awful word, that anyone who has lived in that great republic 
which is called Paris, finds living in little towns quite 
intolerable. The tyranny of public opinion (and what public 
opinion !) is as stupid in the little towns of France as in the 
United States of America. 



Importance ! What is it, sir after all ? The respect of 
fools, the wonder of children, the envy of the rich, the 
contempt of the wise man. Bamavt 

Happily for the reputation of M. de Renal as an administrator 
an immense wall of support was necessary for the public 
promenade which goes along the hill, a hundred steps above 
the course of the Doubs. This admirable position secures 
for the promenade one of the most picturesque views in the 
whole ot France. But the rain water used to make furrows 
in the walk every spring, caused ditches to appear, and 
rendered it generally impracticable. This nuisance, which 
was felt by the whole town, put M. de Renal in the happy 
position of being compelled to immortalise his administration 
by building a wall twenty feet high and thirty to forty yards 

The parapet of this wall, which occasioned M. de Renal three 
journeys to Paris (for the last Minister of the Interior but one 
had declared himself the mortal enemy of the promenade of 
Verrieres), is now raised to a height of four feet above the 
ground, and as though to defy all ministers whether past 
or present, it is at present adorned with tiles of hewn 

How many times have my looks plunged into the valley of 
the Doubs, as I thought of the Paris balls which I had 
abandoned on the previous night, and leant my breast against 
the great blocks of stone, whose beautiful grey almost verged 
on blue. Beyond the left bank, there wind five or six valleys, 
at the bottom of which I could see quite distinctly several 
small streams. There is a view of them falling into the 


Doubs, after a series of cascades. The sun is very warm in 
these mountains. When it beats straight down, the pensive 
traveller on the terrace finds shelter under some magnificent 
plane trees. They owe their rapid growth and their fine verdure 
with its almost bluish shade to the new soil, which M. the 
mayor has had placed behind his immense wall of support for 
(in spite of the opposition of the Municipal Council) he has 
enlarged the promenade by more than six feet (and although 
he is an Ultra and I am a Liberal, I praise him for it), and 
that is why both in his opinion and in that of M. Valenod, 
the fortunate Director of the workhouse of Verrieres, this 
terrace can brook comparison with that of Saint-Germain en 

I find personally only one thing at which to cavil in the 
COURS DE LA FIDELITE, (this official name is to be 
read in fifteen to twenty places on those immortal tiles which 
earned M. de Renal an extra cross.) The grievance I find in 
the Cours de la Fidelite is the barbarous manner in which the 
authorities have cut these vigorous plane trees and clipped 
them to the quick. In fact they really resemble with their 
dwarfed, rounded and flattened heads the most vulgar plants 
of the vegetable garden, while they are really capable of 
attaining the magnificent development of the English plane 
trees. But the wish of M. the mayor is despotic, and all the 
trees belonging to the municipality are ruthlessly pruned twice 
a year. The local Liberals suggest, but they are probably 
exaggerating, that the hand of the official gardener has 
become much more severe, since M. the Vicar Maslon started 
appropriating the clippings. This young ecclesiastic was sent 
to Besancon some years ago to keep watch on the abbe 
Chelan and some cures in the neighbouring districts. An 
old Surgeon-Major of Napoleon's Italian Army, who was 
living in retirement at Verrieres, and who had been in his 
time described by M. the mayor as both a Jacobin and a 
Bonapartiste, dared to complain to the mayor one day of the 
periodical mutilation of these fine trees. 

" I like the shade," answered M. de Renal, with just a tinge 
of that hauteur which becomes a mayor when he is talking to a 
surgeon, who is a member of the Legion of Honour. " I like 
the shade, I have my trees clipped in order to give shade, and 
I cannot conceive that a tree can have any other purpose, 


provided of course it is not bringing in any profit, like the 
useful walnut tree." 

This is the great word which is all decisive at Verrieres. 
"BRINGING IN PROFIT," this word alone sums up the 
habitual trend of thought of more than three-quarters of the 

Bringing in profit is the consideration which decides every- 
thing in this little town which you thought so pretty. The 
stranger who arrives in the town is fascinated by the beauty of 
the fresh deep valleys which surround it, and he imagines at 
first that the inhabitants have an appreciation of the beautiful. 
They talk only too frequently of the beauty of their country, 
and it cannot be denied that they lay great stress on it, but 
the reason is that it attracts a number of strangers, whose 
money enriches the inn-keepers, a process which brings in 
profit to the town, owing to the machinery of the octroi. 

It was on a fine, autumn day that M. de Renal was taking 
a promenade on the Cours de la Fidelite with his wife on his 
arm. While listening to her husband (who was talking in a 
somewhat solemn manner) Madame de Renal followed 
anxiously with her eyes the movements of three little boys. 
The eldest, who might have been eleven years old, went too 
frequently near the parapet and looked as though he was 
going to climb up it. A sweet voice then pronounced the 
name of Adolphe and the child gave up his ambitious project. 
Madame de Renal seemed a woman of thirty years of age but 
still fairly pretty. 

" He may be sorry for it, may this fine gentleman from 
Paris," said M. de Renal, with an offended air and a face 
even paler than usual. " I am not without a few friends at 
court ! " But though I want to talk to you about the provinces 
for two hundred pages, I lack the requisite barbarity to make 
you undergo all the long-windedness and circtimlocutions of a 
provincial dialogue. 

This fine gentleman from Paris, who was so odious to the 
mayor of Verrieres, was no other than the M. Appert, who 
had two days previously managed to find his way not only into 
the prison and workhouse of Verrieres, but also into the 
hospital, which was gratuitously conducted by the mayor and 
the principal proprietors of the district. 

" But," said Madame de Renal timidly, " what harm can 


this Paris gentleman do you, since you administer the poor 
fund with the utmost scrupulous honesty ?" 

" He only comes to throw blame and afterwards he will get 
some articles into the Liberal press." 

" You never read them, my dear." 

" But they always talk to us about those Jacobin articles, all 
that distracts us and prevents us from doing good.* Personally, 
I shall never forgive the cure." 

Historically true. 



A virtuous cure who does not intrigue is a providence 
for the village. Fkury 

It should be mentioned that the cure of Verrieres, an old 
man of ninety, who owed to the bracing mountain air an iron 
constitution and an iron character, had the right to visit the 
prison, the hospital and the workhouse at any hour. It had 
been at precisely six o'clock in the morning that M. Appert, 
who had a Paris recommendation to the cure, had been 
shrewd enough to arrive at a little inquisitive town. He had 
immediately gone on to the cure's house. 

The cure Chelan became pensive as he read the letter 
written to him by the M. le Marquis de La Mole, Peer of 
France, and the richest landed proprietor of the province. 

" I am old and beloved here," he said to himself in a 
whisper, " they would not dare ! " Then he suddenly turned 
to the gentleman from Paris, with eyes, which in spite of his 
great age, shone with that sacred fire which betokens the 
delight of doing a fine but slightly dangerous act. 

" Come with me, sir," he said, " but please do not express 
any opinion of the things which we shall see, in the presence 
of the jailer, and above all not in the presence of the 
superintendents of the workhouse." 

M. Appert realised that he had to do with a man of spirit. 
He followed the venerable cure, visited the hospital and 
workhouse, put a lot of questions, but in spite of somewhat 
extraordinary answers, did not indulge in the slightest 
expression of censure. 

This visit lasted several hours ; the cure invited M. Appert 
to dine, but the latter made the excuse of having some letters 


to write ; as a matter of fact, he did not wish to compromise 
his generous companion to any further extent. About three 
o'clock these gentlemen went to finish their inspection of 
the workhouse and then returned to the prison. There they 
found the jailer by the gate, a kind of giant, six feet high, 
with bow legs. His ignoble face had become hideous by 
reason of his terror. 

" Ah, monsieur," he said to the cure as soon as he saw him, 
" is not the gentleman whom I see there, M. Appert ? " 

" What does that matter ? " said the cure. 

"The reason is that I received yesterday the most specific 
orders, and M. the Prefect sent a message by a gendarme who 
must have galloped during the whole of the night, that M. 
Appert was not to be allowed in the prisons." 

" I can tell you, M. Noiroud," said the cure, " that the 
traveller who is with me is M. Appert, but do you or do you 
not admit that I have the right to enter the prison at any 
hour of the day or night accompanied by anybody I choose ? " 

" Yes, M. the cure," said the jailer in a low voice, 
lowering his head like a bull-dog, induced to a grudging 
obedience by fear of the stick, ' ' only, M. the cure, I have a 
wife and children, and shall be turned out if they inform 
against me. I only have my place to live on." 

" I, too, should be sorry enough to lose mine," answered 
the good cure, with increasing emotion in his voice. 

" What a difference ! " answered the jailer keenly. " As for 
you, M. le cure, we all know that you have eight hundred 
francs a year, good solid money." 

Such were the facts which, commented upon and exaggerated 
in twenty different ways, had been agitating for the last two 
days all the odious passions of the little town of Verrieres. 

At the present time they served as the text for the little 
discussion which M. de Renal was having with his wife. He 
had visited the cure earlier in the morning accompanied by 
M Valenod, the director of the workhouse, in order to convey 
their most emphatic displeasure. M. Chelan had no protector, 
and felt all the weight of their words. 

" Well, gentlemen, I shall be the third cure of eighty years 
of age who has been turned out in this district. I have been 
here for fifty-six years. I have baptized nearly all the inhabitants 
of the town, which was only a hamlet when I came to it 


Every day I marry young people whose grandparents I have 
married in days gone by. Verrieres is my family, but I said 
to myself when I saw the stranger, ' This man from Paris may 
as a matter of fact be a Liberal, there are only too many of 
them about, but what harm can he do to our poor and to our 
prisoners ? ' " 

The reproaches of M. de Renal, and above all, those of M. 
Valenod, the director of the workhouse, became more and 
more animated. 

" Well, gentlemen, turn me out then," the old cure 
exclaimed in a trembling voice ; " I shall still continue to live 
in the district. As you know, I inherited forty-eight years ago 
a piece of land that brings in eight hundred francs a year ; I 
shall live on that income. I do not save anything out of my 
living, gentlemen ; and that is perhaps why, when you talk to 
me about it, I am not particularly frightened." 

M. de Renal always got on very well with his wife, but he 
did not know what to answer when she timidly repeated the 
phrase of M. le cure, " What harm can this Paris gentleman 
do the prisoners ? " He was on the point of quite losing his 
temper when she gave a cry. Her second son had mounted 
the parapet of the terrace wall and was running along it, 
although the wall was raised to a height of more than twenty 
feet above the vineyard on the other side. The fear of 
frightening her son and making him fall prevented Madame 
de Renal speaking to him. But at last the child, who was 
smiling at his own pluck, looked at his mother, saw her pallor, 
jumped down on to the walk and ran to her. He was well 

This little event changed the course of the conversation. 

" I really mean to take Sorel, the son of the sawyer, into the 
house," said M. de Renal ; " he will look after the children, 
who are getting too naughty for us to manage. He is a young 
priest, or as good as one, a good Latin scholar, and will make 
the children get on. According to the cure, he has a steady 
character. I will give him three hundred francs a year and 
his board. I have some doubts as to his morality, for he 
used to be the favourite of that old Surgeon-Major, Member 
of the Legion of Honour, who went to board with the Sorels, 
on the pretext that he was their cousin. It is quite possible 
that that man was really simply a secret agent of the Liberals. 


He said that the mountain air did his asthma good, but that 
is something which has never been proved. He has gone 
through all Buonaparte's campaigns in Italy, and had 
even, it was said, voted against the Empire in the plebiscite. 
This Liberal taught the Sorel boy Latin, and left him a 
number of books which he had brought with him. Of course, 
in the ordinary way, I should have never thought of allowing 
a carpenter's son to come into contact with our children, but 
the cure told me, the very day before the scene which has just 
estranged us for ever, that Sorel has been studying theology 
for three years with the intention of entering a seminary. He 
is, consequently, not a Liberal, and he certainly is a good 
Latin scholar. 

"jThis arrangement will be convenient in more than one 
way," continued M. de Renal, looking at his wife with a 
diplomatic air. " That Valenod is proud enough of his two 
fine Norman horses which he has just bought for his carriage, 
but he hasn't a tutor for his children." 

" He might take this one away from us." 

"You approve of my plan, then?" said M. de Renal, 
thanking his wife with a smile for the excellent idea which she 
had just had. " Well, that's settled." 

" Good gracious, my dear, how quickly you make up your 
mind ! " 

" It is because I'm a man of character, as the cure found 
out right enough. Don't let us deceive ourselves ; we are 
surrounded by Liberals in this place. All those cloth merchants 
are jealous of me, I am certain of it ; two or three are be- 
coming rich men. Well, I should rather fancy it for them to 
see M. de Renal's children pass along the street as they go out 
for their walk, escorted by their tutor. It will impress people. 
My grandfather often used to tell us that he had a tutor when 
he was young. It may run me into a hundred crowns, but 
that ought to be looked upon as an expense necessary tor 
keeping up our position." 

This sudden resolution left Madame de Renal quite pensive. 
She was a big, well-made woman, who had been the beauty of 
the country, to use the local expression. She had a certain 
air of simplicity and youthfulness in her deportment. This 
naive grace, with its innocence and its vivacity, might even 
have recalled to a Parisian some suggestion of the sweets he 


had left behind him. If she had realised this particular phase 
of her success, Madame de Renal would have been quite 
ashamed of it. All coquetry, all affectation, were absolutely 
alien to her temperament. M. Valenod, the rich director of 
the workhouse, had the reputation of having paid her court, 
a fact which had cast a singular glamour over her virtue ; for 
this M. Valenod, a big young man with a square, sturdy frame, 
florid face, and big, black whiskers, was one of those coarse, 
blustering, and noisy people who pass in the provinces for a 
" fine man." 

Madame de Renal, who had a very shy, and apparently a 
very uneven temperament, was particularly shocked by M. 
Valenod's lack of repose, and by his boisterous loudness. Her 
aloofness from what, in the Verrieres' jargon, was called 
" having a good time," had earned her the reputation of being 
very proud of her birth. In fact, she never thought about it, 
but she had been extremely glad to find the inhabitants of the 
town visit her less frequently. We shall not deny that she 
passed for a fool in the eyes of their good ladies because 
she did not wheedle her husband, and allowed herself to miss 
the most splendid opportunities of getting fine hats from Paris 
or Besancon. Provided she was allowed to wander in her 
beautiful garden, she never complained. She was a naive 
soul, who had never educated herself up to the point of 
judging her husband and confessing to herself that he bored 
her. She supposed, without actually formulating the thought, 
that there was no greater sweetness in the relationship between 
husband and wife than she herself had experienced. She 
loved M. de Renal most when he talked about his projects for 
their children. The elder he had destined for the army, the 
second for the law, and the third for the Church. To sum 
up, she found M. de Renal much less boring than all the other 
men of her acquaintance. 

This conjugal opinion was quite sound. The Mayor of 
Verrieres had a reputation for wit, and above all, a reputation 
for good form, on the strength of half-a-dozen "chestnuts" which 
he had inherited from an uncle. Old Captain de Renal had 
served, before the Revolution, in the infantry regiment of M. 
the Duke of Orleans, and was admitted to the Prince's salons 
when he went to Paris. He had seen Madame de Montesson, 
the famous Madame de Genlis, M. Ducret, the inventor, of the 


Palais-Royal. These personages would crop up only too 
frequently in M. de Renal's anecdotes. He found it, however, 
more and more of a strain to remember stories which required 
such delicacy in the telling, and for some time past it had 
only been on great occasions that he would trot out his anec- 
dotes concerning the House of Orleans. As, moreover, he 
was extremely polite, except on money matters, he passed, 
and justly so, for the most aristocratic personage in Verrieres. 



E sara mia colpa 

Se cosi e ? Machiazwlli. 

" My wife really has a head on her shoulders," said the mayor 
of Verrieres at six o'clock the following morning, as he went 
down to the saw-mill of Father Sorel. " It had never occurred 
to me that if I do not take little Abbe Sorel, who, they say, 
knows Latin like an angel, that restless spirit, the director of 
the workhouse, might have the same idea and snatch him 
away from me, though of course I told her that it had, in order 
to preserve my proper superiority. And how smugly, to be 
sure, would he talk about his children's tutor ! . . . . The 
question is, once the tutor's mine, shall he wear the cassock ? " 

M. de Renal was absorbed in this problem when he saw a 
peasant in the distance, a man nearly six feet tall, who since 
dawn had apparently been occupied in measuring some pieces 
of wood which had been put down alongside the Doubs on 
the towing-path. The peasant did not look particularly 
pleased when he saw M. the Mayor approach, as these pieces 
of wood obstructed the road, and had been placed there in 
breach of the rules. 

Father Sorel (for it was he) was very surprised, and even 
more pleased at the singular offer which M. de Renal made 
him for his son Julien. None the less, he listened to it with 
that air of sulky discontent and apathy which the subtle in- 
habitants of these mountains know so well how to assume. 
Slaves as they have been since the time of the Spanish 
Conquest, they still preserve this feature, which is also found 
in the character of the Egyptian fellah. 

Sorel's answer was at first simply a long-winded recitation 


of all the formulas of respect which he knew by heart. While 
he was repeating these empty words with an uneasy smile, 
which accentuated all the natural disingenuousness, if not, 
indeed, knavishness of his physiognomy, the active mind of 
the old peasant tried to discover what reason could induce so 
so important a man to take into his house his good-for- 
nothing of a son. He was very dissatisfied with Julien, and it 
was for Julien that M. de Renal offered the undreamt-of 
salary of 30ofcs. a year, with board and even clothing. This 
latter claim, which Father Sorel had had the genius to spring 
upon the mayor, had been granted with equal suddenness by 
M. de Renal. 

This demand made an impression on the mayor. It is 
clear, he said to himself, that since Sorel is not beside himself 
with delight over my proposal, as in the ordinary way he ought 
to be, he must have had offers made to him elsewhere, and 
whom could they have come from, if not from Valenod. It was 
in vain that M. de Renal pressed Sorel to clinch the matter 
then and there. The old peasant, astute man that he was, 
stubbornly refused to do so. He wanted, he said, to consult 
his son, as if in the provinces, forsooth, a rich father consulted a 
penniless son for any other reason than as a mere matter of form. 

A water saw-mill consists of a shed by the side of a stream. 
The roof is supported by a framework resting on four large 
timber pillars. A saw can be seen going up and down at a 
height of eight to ten feet in the middle of the shed, while a 
piece of wood is propelled against this saw by a very simple 
mechanism. It is a wheel whose motive-power is supplied 
by the stream, which sets in motion this double piece of 
mechanism, the mechanism of the saw which goes up and 
down, and the mechanism which gently pushes the piece of 
wood towards the saw, which cuts it up into planks. 

Approaching his workshop, Father Sorel called Julien in 
his stentorian voice ; nobody answered. He only saw his 
giant elder sons, who, armed with heavy axes, were cutting up 
the pine planks which they had to carry to the saw. They 
were engrossed in following exactly the black mark traced 
on each piece of wood, from which every blow of their axes 
threw off enormous shavings. They did not hear their father's 
voice. The latter made his way towards the shed. He 
entered it and looked in vain for Julien in the place where he 


ought to have been by the side of the saw. He saw him five 
or six feet higher up, sitting astride one of the rafters of the 
roof. Instead of watching attentively the action of the 
machinery, Julien was reading. Nothing was more anti- 
pathetic to old Sorel. He might possibly have forgiven Julien 
his puny physique, ill adapted as it was to manual labour, and 
different as it was from that of his elder brothers; but he 
hated this reading mania. He could not read himself. 

It was in vain that he called Julien two or three times. It 
was the young man's concentration on his book, rather than 
the din made by the saw, which prevented him from hearing 
his father's terrible voice. At last the latter, in spite of his 
age, jumped nimbly on to the tree that was undergoing the 
action of the saw, and from there on to the cross-bar that 
supported the roof. A violent blow made the book which 
Julien held, go flying into the stream ; a second blow on the 
head, equally violent, which took the form of a box on the ears, 
made him lose his balance. He was on the point of falling 
twelve or fifteen feet lower down into the middle of the levers 
of the running machinery which would have cut him to pieces, 
but his father caught him as he fell, in his left hand. 

" So that's it, is it, lazy bones ! always going to read your 
damned books are you, when you're keeping watch on the 
saw ? You read them in the evening if you want to, when 
you go to play the fool at the cure's, that's the proper time." 

Although stunned by the force of the blow and bleeding 
profusely, Julien went back to his official post by the side of 
the saw. He had tears in his eyes, less by reason of the 
physical pain than on account of the loss of his beloved book. 

"Get down, you beast, when I am talking to you," the 
noise of the machinery prevented Julien from hearing this 
order. His father, who had gone down did not wish to give 
himself the trouble of climbing up on to the machinery again, 
and went to fetch a long fork used for bringing down nuts, 
with which he struck him on the shoulder. Julien had scarcely 
reached the ground, when old Sorel chased him roughly 
in front of him and pushed him roughly towards the house. 
" God knows what he is going to do with me," said the 
young man to himself. As he passed, he looked sorrowfully 
into the stream into which his book had fallen, it was the 
one that he held dearest of all, the Memorial of St. Helena. 



He had purple cheeks and downcast eyes. He was a young 
man of eighteen to nineteen years old, and of puny appearance, 
with irregular but delicate features, and an aquiline nose. The 
big black eyes which betokened in their tranquil moments a 
temperament at once fiery and reflective were at the present 
moment animated by an expression of the most ferocious hate. 
Dark chestnut hair, which came low down over his brow, 
made his forehead appear small and gave him a sinister look 
during his angry moods. It is doubtful if any face out of 
all the innumerable varieties of the human physiognomy was 
ever distinguished by a more arresting individuality. 

A supple well-knit figure, indicated agility rather than 
strength. His air of extreme pensiveness and his great pallor 
had given his father the idea that he would not live, or that 
if he did, it would only be to be a burden to his family. The 
butt of the whole house, he hated his brothers and his father. 
He was regularly beaten in the Sunday sports in the public 

A little less than a year ago his pretty face had begun 
to win him some sympathy among the young girls. Univer- 
sally despised as a weakling, Julien had adored that old 
Surgeon-Major, who had one day dared to talk to the mayor 
on the subject of the plane trees. 

This Surgeon had sometimes paid Father Sorel for taking 
his son for a day, and had taught him Latin and History, that 
is to say the 1796 Campaign in Italy which was all the 
history he knew. When he died, he had bequeathed his 
Cross of the Legion of Honour, his arrears of half pay, and 
thirty or forty volumes, of which the most precious had just 
fallen into the public stream, which had been diverted owing 
to the influence of M. the Mayor. 

Scarcely had he entered the house, when Julien felt his 
shoulder gripped by his father's powerful hand ; he trembled, 
expecting some blows. 

" Answer me without lying," cried the harsh voice of the 
old peasant in his ears, while his hand turned him round and 
round, like a child's hand turns round a lead soldier. The big 
black eyes of Julien filled with tears, and were confronted by 
the small grey eyes of the old carpenter, who looked as if he 
meant to read to the very bottom of his soul. 



Cunctando restituit rem. Ennius. 

" Answer me without lies, if you can, you damned dog, how 
did you get to know Madame de Renal ? When did you speak 
to her?" 

" I have never spoken to her," answered Julien, " I have 
only seen that lady in church." 

" You must have looked at her, you impudent rascal." 

" Not once ! you know, I only see God in church," answered 
Julien, with a little hypocritical air, well suited, so he thought, 
to keep off the parental claws. 

" None the less there's something that does not meet the 
eye," answered the cunning peasant. He was then silent for a 
moment. " But I shall never get anything out of you, you 
damned hypocrite," he went on. " As a matter of fact, I am 
going to get rid of you, and my saw-mill will go all the better 
for it. You have nobbled the curate, or somebody else, who 
has got you a good place. Run along and pack your traps, 
and I will take you to M. de Renal's, where you are going to 
be tutor to his children." 

" What shall I get for that ? " 

' Board, clothing, and three hundred francs salary." 

" I do not want to be a servant." 

" Who's talking of being a servant, you brute, Do you think 
I want my son to be a servant ? " 

" But with whom shall I have my meals ? " 

This question discomforted old Sorel, who felt he might 
possibly commit some imprudence if he went on talking. He 
burst out against Julien, flung insult after insult at him, 


accused him of gluttony, and left him to go and consult his 
other sons. 

Julien saw them afterwards, each one leaning on his axe 
and holding counsel. Having looked at them for a long time, 
Julien saw that he could find out nothing, and went and 
stationed himself on the other side of the saw in order to 
avoid being surprised. He wanted to think over this un- 
expected piece of news, which changed his whole life, but he 
felt himself unable to consider the matter prudently, his 
imagination being concentrated in wondering what he would 
see in M. de Renal's fine mansion. 

" I must give all that up," he said to himself, " rather than 
let myself be reduced to eating with the servants. My father 
would like to force me to it. I would rather die. I have fifteen 
francs and eight sous of savings. I will run away to-night ; 
I will go across country by paths where there are no gendarmes 
to be feared, and in two days I shall be at Besancon. I will 
enlist as a soldier there, and, if necessary, I will cross into 
Switerzerland. But in that case, no more advancement, it 
will be all up with my being a priest, that fine career which 
may lead to anything." 

This abhorrence of eating with the servants was not really 
natural to Julien ; he would have done things quite, if not 
more, disagreeable in order to get on. He derived this 
repugnance from the Confessions of Rousseau. It was the 
only book by whose help his imagination endeavoured to con- 
struct the world. The collection of the Bulletins of the Grand 
Army, and the Memorial of St. Helena completed his Koran. 
He would have died for these three works. He never believed 
in any rther. To use a phrase of the old Surgeon-Major, he 
regarded all the other books in the world as packs of lies, 
written by rogues in order to get on. 

Julien possessed both a fiery soul and one of those astonish- 
ing memories which are so often combined with stupidity. 

In order to win over the old cure Chelan, on whose 
good grace he realized that his future prospects depended, he 
had learnt by heart the New Testament in Latin. He also 
knew M. de Maistre's book on The Pope, and believed in one 
as little as he did in the other. 

Sorel and his son avoided talking to each other to-day 
as though by mutual consent. In the evening Julien went to 


take his theology lesson at the cure's, but he did not consider 
that it was prudent to say anything to him about the strange 
proposal which had been made to his father. " It is possibly 
a trap," he said to himself, " I must pretend that I have 
forgotten all about it." 

Early next morning, M. de Renal had old Sorel summoned 
to him. He eventually arrived, after keeping M. de Renal 
waiting for an hour-and-a-half, and made, as he entered the 
room, a hundred apologies interspersed with as many bows. 
After having run the gauntlet of all kinds of objections, Sorel 
was given to understand that his son would have his meals 
with the master and mistress of the house, and that he would 
eat alone in a room with the children on the days when they 
had company. The more clearly Sorel realized the genuine 
eagerness of M. the Mayor, the more difficulties he felt inclined 
to raise. Being moreover full of mistrust and astonishment, 
he asked to see the room where his son would sleep. It was 
a big room, quite decently furnished, into which the servants 
were already engaged in carrying the beds of the three 

This circumstance explained a lot to the old peasant. He 
asked immediately, with quite an air of assurance, to see the 
suit which would be given to his son. M. de Renal opened 
his desk and took out one hundred francs. 

"Your son will go to M. Durand, the draper, with this 
money and will get a complete black suit." 

" And even supposing I take him away from you," said the 
peasant, who had suddenly forgotten all his respectful for- 
malities, " will he still keep this black suit ? " 

" Certainly ! " 

" Well," said Sorel, in a drawling voice, " all that remains to 
do is to agree on just one thing, the money which you will give 

" What ! " exclaimed M. de Renal, indignantly, " we agreed 
on that yesterday. I shall give him three hundred francs, I 
think that is a lot, and probably too much." 

"That is your offer and I do not deny it," said old Sorel, 
speaking still very slowly; and by a stroke of genius which 
will only astonish those who do not know the Franche-Comte 
peasants, he fixed his eyes on M. de Renal and added, 
" We shall get better terms elsewhere." 


The Mayor's face exhibited the utmost consternation at 
these words. He pulled himself together however and after 
a cunning conversation of two hours' length, where every single 
word on both sides was carefully weighed, the subtlety of the 
peasant scored a victory over the subtlety of the rich man, 
whose livelihood was not so dependent on his faculty of 
cunning. All the numerous stipulations which were to 
regulate Julien's new existence were duly formulated. Not 
only was his salary fixed at four hundred francs, but they were 
to be paid in advance on the first of each month. 

" Very well, I will give him thirty-five francs," said M. de 

" I am quite sure," said the peasant, in a fawning voice, 
" that a rich, generous man like the M. mayor would go as far as 
thirty-six francs, to make up a good round sum." 

" Agreed ! " said M. de Renal, " but let this be final." For 
the moment his temper gave him a tone of genuine firm- 
ness. The peasant saw that it would not do to go any 

Then, on his side, M. de Renal managed to score. He 
absolutely refused to give old Sorel, who was very anxious to 
receive it on behalf of his son, the thirty-six francs for the first 
month. It had occurred to M. de Renal that he would have 
to tell his wife the figure which he had cut throughout these 

" Hand me back the hundred francs which I gave you," he 
said sharply. " M. Durand owes me something, I will go 
with your son to see about a black cloth suit." 

After this manifestation of firmness, Sorel had the prudence 
to return to his respectful formulas ; they took a good quarter 
of an hour. Finally, seeing that there was nothing more to be 
gained, he took his leave. He finished his last bow with 
these words : 

" I will send my son to the Chateau." The Mayor's officials 
called his house by this designation when they wanted to 
humour him. 

When he got back to his workshop, it was in vain that Sorel 
sought his son. Suspicious of what might happen, Julien had 
gone out in the middle of the night. He wished to place his 
Cross of the Legion of Honour and his books in a place of 
safety. He had taken everything to a young wood-merchant 


named Fouque, who was a friend of his, and who lived in the 
high mountain which commands Verrieres. 

" God knows, you damned lazy bones," said his father to 
him when he re-appeared, "if you will ever be sufficiently 
honourable to pay me back the price of your board which I 
have been advancing to you for so many years. Take your 
rags and clear out to M. the Mayor's." 

Julien was astonished at not being beaten and hastened to 
leave. He had scarcely got out of sight of his terrible father 
when he slackened his pace. He considered that it would 
assist the role played by his hyprocrisy to go and say a prayer 
in the church. 

The word hypocrisy surprises you ? The soul of the peasant 
had had to go through a great deal before arriving at this 
horrible word. 

Julien had seen in the days of his early childhood certain 
Dragoons of the 6th * with long white cloaks and hats covered 
with long black plumed helmets who were returning from 
Italy, and tied up their horses to the grilled window of his 
father's house. The sight had made him mad on the military 
profession. Later on he had listened with ecstasy to the 
narrations of the battles of Lodi, Areola and Rivoli with which 
the old surgeon-major had regaled him. He observed the 
ardent gaze which the old man used to direct towards his 

But when Julien was fourteen years of age they commenced 
to build a church at Verrieres which, in view of the smallness 
of the town, has some claim to be called magnificent. There 
were four marble columns in particular, the sight of which 
impressed Julien. They became celebrated in the district 
owing to the mortal hate which they raised between the Justice 
of the Peace and the young vicar who had been sent from 
Besancon and who passed for a spy of the congregation. The 
Justice of the Peace was on the point of losing his place, so 
said the public opinion at any rate. Had he not dared to have 
a difference with the priest who went every fortnight to Besan- 
con ; where he saw, so they said, my Lord the Bishop. 

In the meanwhile the Justice of the Peace, who was the 

* The author v/as sub-lieutenant in the 6th Dragoons in 1800 


father of a numerous family, gave several sentences which 
seemed unjust : all these sentences were inflicted on those of 
the inhabitants who read the " Constitutionel." The right 
party triumphed. It is true it was only a question of sums of 
three or five francs, but one of these little fines had to be paid 
by a nail-maker, who was god-father to Julien. This man 
exclaimed in his anger " What a change ! and to think that 
for more than twenty years the Justice of the Peace has passed 
for an honest man." 

The Surgeon-Major, Julien's friend, died. Suddenly Julien 
left off talking about Napoleon. He announced his intention 
of becoming a priest, and was always to be seen in his father's 
workshop occupied in learning by heart the Latin Bible which 
the cure had lent him. The good old man was astonished 
at his progress, and passed whole evenings in teaching him 
theology. In his society Julien did not manifest other than 
pious sentiments. Who could not possibly guess that beneath 
this girlish face, so pale and so sweet, lurked the unbreakable 
resolution to risk a thousand deaths rather than fail to make 
his fortune. Making his fortune primarily meant to Julien 
getting out of Verrieres : he abhorred his native country ; 
everything that he saw there froze his imagination. 

He had had moments of exultation since his earliest child- 
hood. He would then dream with gusto of being presented 
one day to the pretty women of Paris. He would manage to 
attract their attention by some dazzling feat : why should he 
not be loved by one of them just as Buonaparte, when still 
poor, had been loved by the brilliant Madame de Beauharnais. 
For many years past Julien had scarcely passed a single year 
of his life without reminding himself that Buonaparte, the 
obscure and penniless lieutenant, had made himself master of 
the whole world by the power of his sword. This idea 
consoled him for his misfortune, which he considered to be 
great, and rendered such joyful moments as he had doubly 

The building of the church and the sentences pronounced 
by the Justice of the Peace suddenly enlightened him. An 
idea came to him which made him almost mad for some weeks, 
and finally took complete possession of him with all the magic 
that a first idea possesses for a passionate soul which believes 
that it is original. 


" At the time when Buonaparte got himself talked about, 
France was frightened of being invaded ; military distinction 
was necessary and fashionable. Nowadays, one sees priests 
of forty with salaries of 100,000 francs, that is to say, three 
times as much as Napoleon's famous generals of a division. 
They need persons to assist them. Look at that Justice of 
the Peace, such a good sort and such an honest man up to the 
present and so old too ; he sacrifices his honour through the 
fear of incurring the displeasure of a young vicar of thirty. I 
must be a priest." 

On one occasion, in the middle of his new-found piety (he 
had already been studying theology for two years), he was 
betrayed by a sudden burst of fire which consumed his soul. 
It was at M. Chelan's. The good cure had invited him to 
a dinner of priests, and he actually let himself praise Napoleon 
with enthusiasm. He bound his right arm over his breast, 
pretending that he had dislocated it in moving a trunk of a 
pine-tree and carried it for two months in that painful position. 
After this painful penance, he forgave himself. This is the 
young man of eighteen with a puny physique, and scarcely 
looking more than seventeen at the outside, who entered the 
magnificent church of Verrieres carrying a little parcel under 
his arm. 

He found it gloomy and deserted. All the transepts in the 
building had been covered with crimson cloth in celebration 
of a feast. The result was that the sun's rays produced an 
effect of dazzling light of the most impressive and religious 
character. Julien shuddered. Finding himself alone in the 
church, he established himself in the pew which had the most 
magnificent appearance. It bore the arms of M. de Renal. 

Julien noticed a piece of printed paper spread out on the 
stool, which was apparently intended to be read, he cast his 
eyes over it and saw : " Details of the execution and the 
last moments of Louis Jenrel, executed at Besan^on the . . ." 
The paper was torn. The two first words of a line were 
legible on the back, they were, " The First Step." 

" Who could have put this paper there ? " said Julien. 
" Poor fellow ! " he added with a sigh, " the last syllable of his 
name is the same as mine," and he crumpled up the paper. 
As he left, Julien thought he saw blood near the Host, it was 
holy water which the priests had been sprinkling on it, the re- 


flection of the red curtains which covered the windows made it 
look like blood. 

Finally, Julien felt ashamed of his secret terror. " Am I 
going to play the coward," he said to himself: " To Arms!" 
This phrase, repeated so often in the old Surgeon-Major's 
battle stories, symbolized heroism to Julien. He got up 
rapidly and walked to M. de Renal's house. As soon as he 
saw it twenty yards in front of him he was seized, in spite of 
his fine resolution, with an overwhelming timidity. The iron 
grill was open. He thought it was magnificent. He had to go 

Julien was not the only person whose heart was troubled by 
his arrival in the house. The extreme timidity of Madame 
de Renal was fluttered when she thought of this stranger 
whose functions would necessitate his coming between her and 
her children. She was accustomed to seeing her sons sleep 
in her own room. She had shed many tears that morning, 
when she had seen their beds carried into the apartment 
intended for the tutor. It was in vain that she asked her 
husband to have the bed of Stanislas-Xavier, the youngest, 
carried back into her room. 

Womanly delicacy was carried in Madame de Renal to the 
point of excess. She conjured up in her imagination the 
most disagreeable personage, who was coarse, badly groomed 
and encharged with the duty of scolding her children simply 
because he happened to know Latin, and only too ready to 
flog her sons for their ignorance of that barbarous language. 



Non so piu cosa son 

Cosa facio. Mozakt {Figaro). 

Madame de Renal was going out of the salon by the folding 
window which opened on to the garden with that vivacity and 
grace which was natural to her when she was free from human 
observation, when she noticed a young peasant near the 
entrance gate. He was still almost a child, extremely pale, 
and looked as though he had been crying. He was in a white 
shirt and had under his arm a perfectly new suit of violet frieze. 

The little peasant's complexion was so white and his eyes 
were so soft, that Madame de Renal's somewhat romantic 
spirit thought at first that it might be a young girl in disguise, 
who had come to ask some favour of the M. the Mayor. She 
took pity on this poor creature, who had stopped at the entrance 
of the door, and who apparently did not dare to raise its hand 
to the bell. Madame de Renal approached, forgetting for the 
moment the bitter chagrin occasioned by the tutor's arrival. 
Julien, who was turned towards the gate, did not see her 
advance. He trembled when a soft voice said quite close to 
his ear : 

" What do you want here, my child." 

Julien turned round sharply and was so struck by Madame 
de Renal's look, full of graciousness as it was, that up to a 
certain point he forgot to be nervous. Overcome by her 
beauty he soon forgot everything, even what he had come for. 
Madame de Renal repeated her question. 

" I have come here to be tutor, Madame," he said at last, 
quite ashamed of his tears which he was drying as best as he 


Madame de Renal remained silent. They had a view or 
each other at close range. Julien had never seen a human 
being so well-dressed, and above all he had never seen a 
woman with so dazzling a complexion speak to him at all 
softly. Madame de Renal observed the big tears which had 
lingered on the cheeks of the young peasant, those cheeks 
which had been so pale and were now so pink. Soon she 
began to laugh with all the mad gaiety of a young girl, she 
made fun of herself, and was unable to realise the extent of her 
happiness. So this was that tutor whom she had imagined 
a dirty, badly dressed priest, who was coming to scold and 
flog her children. 

" What ! Monsieur^" she said to him at last, " you know 
Latin ? " 

The word " Monsieur " astonished Julien so much that he 
reflected for a moment. 

" Yes, Madame," he said timidly. 

Madame de Renal was so happy that she plucked up the 
courage to say to Julien, " You will not scold the poor children 
too much?" 

"I scold them!" said Julien in astonishment; "why 
should I?" 

"You won't, will you, Monsieur," she added after a little 
silence, in a soft voice whose emotion became more and more 
intense. " You will be nice to them, you promise me ? " 

To hear himself called "Monsieur" again in all seriousness 
by so well dressed a lady was beyond all Julien's expectations. 
He had always said to himself in all the castles of Spain that he 
had built in his youth, that no real lady would ever condescend 
to talk to him except when he had a fine uniform. Madame 
de Renal, on her side, was completely taken in by Julien's 
beautiful complexion, his big black eyes, and his pretty hair, 
which was more than usually curly, because he had just 
plunged his head into the basin of the public fountain in order 
to refresh himself. She was over-joyed to find that this sinister 
tutor, whom she had feared to find so harsh and severe to her 
children, had, as a matter of fact, the timid manner of a girl. 
The contrast between her fears and what she now saw, proved 
a great event for Madame de Renal's peaceful temperament. 
Finally, she recovered from her surprise. She was astonished 
to find herself at the gate of her own house talking in this way 


and at such close quarters to this young and somewhat scantily 
dressed man. 

" Let us go in, Monsieur," she said to him with a certain 
air of embarrassment. 

During Madame de Renal's whole life she had never been 
so deeply moved by such a sense of pure pleasure. Never 
had so gracious a vision followed in the wake of her discon- 
certing fears. So these pretty children of whom she took such 
care were not after all to fall into the hands of a dirty grumbl- 
ing priest. She had scarcely entered the vestibule when she 
turned round towards Julien, who was following her trembling. 
His astonishment at the sight of so fine a house proved but 
an additional charm in Madame de Renal's eyes. She could 
not believe her own eyes. It seemed to her, above all, that 
the tutor ought to have a black suit. 

" But is it true, Monsieur," she said to him, stopping once 
again, and in mortal fear that she had made a mistake, so 
happy had her discovery made her. " Is it true that you 
know Latin ? " These words offended Julien's pride, and 
dissipated the charming atmosphere which he had been 
enjoying for the last quarter of an hour. 

" Yes, Madame," he said, trying to assume an air of coldness, 
" I know Latin as well as the cure, who has been good enough 
to say sometimes that I know it even better." 

Madame de Renal thought that Julien looked extremely 
wicked. He had stopped two paces from her. She approached 
and said to him in a whisper : 

" You won't beat my children the first few days, will you, 
even if they do not know their lessons ? " 

The softness and almost supplication of so beautiful a lady 
made Julien suddenly forget what he owed to his reputation 
as a Latinist. Madame de Renal's face was close to his own. 
He smelt the perfume of a woman's summer clothing, a quite 
astonishing experience for a poor peasant. Julien blushed 
extremely, and said with a sigh in a faltering voice : 

" Fear nothing, Madame, I will obey you in everything." 

It was only now, when her anxiety about her children had 
been relieved once and for all, that Madame de Renal was 
struck by Julien's extreme beauty. The comparative effemin- 
ancy of his features and his air of extreme embarrassment did 
not seem in any way ridiculous to a woman who was herself 


extremely timid. The male air, which is usually considered 
essential to a man's beauty, would have terrified her. 

" How old are you, sir, she said to Julien ? " 

" Nearly nineteen." 

" My elder son is eleven," went on Madame de Renal, who 
had completely recovered her confidence. " He will be almost 
a chum for you. You will talk sensibly to him. His father 
started beating him once. The child was ill for a whole week, 
and yet it was only a little tap." 

What a difference between him and me, thought Julien. 
Why, it was only yesterday that my father beat me. How 
happy these rich people are. Madame de Renal, who had 
already begun to observe the fine nuances of the workings in 
the tutor's mind, took this fit of sadness for timidity and tried 
to encourage him. 

" What is your name, Monsieur ? " she said to him, with an 
accent and a graciousness whose charm Julien appreciated 
without being able to explain. 

" I am called Julien Sorel, Madame. I feel nervous of 
entering a strange house for the first time in my life. I have 
need of your protection and I want you to make many allow- 
ances for me during the first few days. I have never been to 
the college, I was too poor. I have never spoken to anyone 
else except my cousin who was Surgeon-Major, Member of 
the Legion of Honour, and M. the cure Chelan. He will give 
you a good account of me. My brothers always used to beat 
me, and you must not believe them if they speak badly of me 
to you. You must forgive my faults, Madame. I shall always 
mean everything for the best." 

Julien had regained his confidence during this long speech. 
He was examining Madame de Renal. Perfect grace works 
wonders when it is natural to the character, and above all, 
when the person whom it adorns never thinks of trying to 
affect it. Julien, who was quite a connoisseur in feminine 
beauty, would have sworn at this particular moment that she 
was not more than twenty. The rash idea of kissing her hand 
immediately occurred to him. He soon became frightened of 
his idea. A minute later he said to himself, it will be an act 
of cowardice if I do not carry out an action which may be 
useful to me, and lessen the contempt which this fine lady 
probably has for a poor workman just taken away from the 


saw-mill. Possibly Julien was a little encouraged through 
having heard some young girls repeat on Sundays during the 
last six months the words " pretty boy." 

During this internal debate, Madame de Renal was giving 
him two or three hints on the way to commence handling the 
children. The strain Julien was putting on himself made 
him once more very pale. He said with an air of constraint. 

" I will never beat your children, Madame. I swear it before 
God." In saying this, he dared to take Madame de Renal's 
hand and carry it to his lips. She was astonished at this act, 
and after reflecting, became shocked. As the weather was 
very warm, her arm was quite bare underneath the shawl, and 
Julien's movement in carrying her hand to his lips entirely 
uncovered it. After a few moments she scolded herself. It 
seemed to her that her anger had not been quick enough. 

M. de Renal, who had heard voices, came out of his study, 
and assuming the same air of paternal majesty with which he 
celebrated marriages at the mayoral office, said to Julien : 

" It is essential for me to have a few words with you before my 
children see you." He made Julien enter a room and insisted 
on his wife being present, although she wished to leave them 
alone. Having closed the door M. Renal sat down. 

" M. the cure has told me that you are a worthy person, and 
everybody here will treat you with respect. If I am satisfied 
with you I will later on help you in having a little establishment 
of your own. I do not wish you to see either anything more 
of your relatives or your friends. Their tone is bound to be 
prejudicial to my children. Here are thirty-six francs for the 
first month, but I insist on your word not to give a sou of this 
money to your father." 

M. de Renal was piqued against the old man for having 
proved the shrewder bargainer. 

" Now, Monsieur, for 1 have given orders for everybody 
here to call you Monsieur, and you will appreciate the advantage 
of having entered the house of real gentle folk, now, Mon- 
sieur, it is not becoming for the children to see you in a 
jacket." " Have the servants seen him ? " said M. de Renal 
to his wife. 

" No, my dear," she answered, with an air of deep 

" All the better. Put this on," he said to the surprised 


young man, giving him a frock-coat of his own. " Let us now 
go to M. Durand's the draper." 

When M. de Renal came back with the new tutor in his 
black suit more than an hour later, he found his wife still 
seated in the same place. She felt calmed by Julien's 
presence. When she examined him she forgot to be frightened 
of him. Julien was not thinking about her at all. In spite 
of all his distrust of destiny and mankind, his soul at this 
moment was as simple as that of a child. It seemed as 
though he had lived through years since the moment, three 
hours ago, when he had been all atremble in the church. 
He noticed Madame de Renal's frigid manner and realised 
that she was very angry, because he had dared to kiss her 
hand. But the proud consciousness which was given to him 
by the feel of clothes so different from those which he usually 
wore, transported him so violently and he had so great a 
desire to conceal his exultation, that all his movements were 
marked by a certain spasmodic irresponsibility. Madame de 
Renal looked at him with astonishment. 

" Monsieur," said M. de Renal to him, " dignity above all 
is necessary if you wish to be respected by my children." 

" Sir," answered Julien, " I feel awkward in my new clothes. 
I am a poor peasant and have never wore anything but jackets. 
If you allow it, I will retire to my room." 

" What do you think of this ' acquisition ? ' " said M. de 
Renal to his wife. 

Madame de Renal concealed the truth from her husband, 
obeying an almost instinctive impulse which she certainly 
did not own to herself. 

" I am not as fascinated as you are by this little peasant. 
Your favours will result in his not being able to keep his place, 
and you will have to send him back before the month is out." 

" Oh, well ! we'll send him back then, he cannot run me 
into more than a hundred francs, and Verrieres will have got 
used to seeing M. de Renal's children with a tutor. That 
result would not have been achieved if I had allowed 
Julien to wear a workman's clothes. If I do send him 
back, I shall of course keep the complete black suit which 
I have just ordered at the draper's. All he will keep is 
the ready-made suit which I have just put him into at the 
the tailor's." 


The hour that Julien spent in his room seemed only a 
minute to Madame de Renal. The children who had been 
told about their new tutor began to overwhelm their mother 
with questions. Eventually Julien appeared. He was quite 
another man. It would be incorrect to say that he was grave 
he was the very incarnation of gravity. He was introduced 
to the children and spoke to them in a manner that astonished 
M. de Renal himself. 

" I am here, gentlemen, he said, as he finished his speech, to 
teach you Latin. You know what it means to recite a lesson. 
Here is the Holy Bible, he said, showing them a small volume 
in thirty-two mo., bound in black. It deals especially with the 
history of our Lord Jesus Christ and is the part which is called 
the New Testament. I shall often make you recite your 
lesson, but do you make me now recite mine." 

Adolphe, the eldest of the children, had taken up the book. 
" Open it anywhere you like," went on Julien and tell me the 
first word of any verse, " I will then recite by heart that sacred 
book which governs our conduct towards the whole world, 
until you stop me." 

Adolphe opened the book and read a word, and Julien 
recited the whole of the page as easily as though he had 
been talking French. M. de Renal looked at his wife with 
an air of triumph The children, seeing the astonishment of 
their parents, opened their eyes wide. A servant came to the 
door of the drawing-room; Julien went on talking Latin. 
The servant' first remained motionless, and then disappeared. 
Soon Madame's house-maid, together with the cook, arrived 
at the door. Adolphe had already opened the book at 
eight different places, while Julien went on reciting all the 
time with the same facility. " Great heavens! " said the cook, 
a good and devout girl, quite aloud, "what a pretty little 
priest ! " M. de Renal's self-esteem became uneasy. Instead 
of thinking of examining the tutor, his mind was concentrated 
in racking his memory for some other Latin words. Eventully 
he managed to spout a phrase of Horace. Julien knew no 
other Latin except his Bible. He answered with a frown. 
" The holy ministry to which I destine myself has forbidden 
me to read so profane a poet." 

M. de Renal quoted quite a large number of alleged verses 
from Horace. He explained to his children who Horace was, 



but the admiring children, scarcely attended to what he was 
saying : they were looking at Julien. 

The servants were still at the door. Julien thought that he 
ought to prolong the test " M. Stanislas-Xavier also," he 
said to the youngest of the children, " must give me a passage 
from the holy book." 

Little Stanislas, who was quite flattered, read indifferently 
the first word of a verse, and Julien said the whole page. 

To put the finishing touch on M. de Renal's triumph, M. 
Valenod, the owner of the fine Norman horses, and M. Char- 
cot de Maugiron, the sub-prefect of the district came in when 
Julien was reciting. This scene earned for Julien the title of 
Monsieur ; even tht servants did not dare to refuse it to him. 

That evening all Verrieres flocked to M. de Renal's to see 
the prodigy. Julien answered everybody in a gloomy manner 
and kept his own distance. His fame spread so rapidly in the 
town that a few hours afterwards M. de Renal, fearing that he 
would be taken away by somebody else, proposed to hinr that 
he should sign an engagement for two years. 

" No, Monsieur," Julien answered coldly, " if you wished to 
dismiss me, I should have to go. An engagement which binds 
me without involving you in any obligation is not an equal 
one and I refuse it." 

Julien played his cards so well, that in less than a month of 
his arrival at the house, M. de Renal himself respected him. 
As the cure had quarrelled with both M. de Renal and M. 
Valenod, there was no one who could betray Julien's old 
passion for Napoleon. He always spoke of Napoleon with 



They only manage to touch the heart by wounding it. A Modern. 

The children adored him, but he did not like them in the 
least. His thoughts were elsewhere. But nothing which the 
little brats ever did made him lose his patience. Cold, just 
and impassive, and none the less liked, inasmuch his arrival 
had more or less driven ennui out of the house, he was a good 
tutor. As for himself, he felt nothing but hate and abhorrence 
for that good society into which he had been admitted ; ad- 
mitted, it is true at the bottom of the table, a circumstance 
which perhaps explained his hate and his abhorrence. There 
were certain ' full-dress ' dinners at which he was scarcely able 
to control his hate for everything that surrounded him. One 
St. Louis feast day in particular, when M. Valenod was mono- 
polizing the conversation of M. de Renal, Julien was on the 
point of betraying himself. He escaped into the garden on 
the pretext of finding the children. " What praise of honesty," 
he exclaimed. " One would say that was the only virtue, and 
yet think how they respect and grovel before a man who has 
almost doubled and trebled his fortune since he has adminis- 
tered the poor fund. I would bet anything that he makes a 
profit even out of the monies which are intended for the 
foundlings of these poor creatures whose misery is even more 
sacred than that of others. Oh, Monsters ! Monsters ! And 
I too, am a kind of foundling, hated as I am by my father, my 
brothers, and all my family." 

Some days before the feast of St. Louis, when Julien was 
taking a solitary walk and reciting his breviary in the little 
wood called the Belvedere, which dominates the Cours de la 


Fidelite, he had endeavoured in vain to> avoid his two brothers 
whom he saw coming along in the distance by a lonely path. 
The jealousy of these coarse workmen had been provoked to 
such a pitch by their brother's fine black suit, by his air of 
extreme respectability, and by the sincere contempt which he 
had for them, that they had beaten him until he had fainted 
and was bleeding all over. 

Madame de Renal, who was taking a walk with M. de R6nal 
and the sub-prefect, happened to arrive in the little wood. 
She saw Julien lying on the ground and thought that he was 
dead. She was so overcome that she made M. Valenod 

His alarm was premature. Julien found Madame de Renal 
very pretty, but he hated her on account of her beauty, for 
that had been the first danger which had almost stopped his 

He talked to her as little as possible, in order to make her 
forget the transport which had induced him to kiss her hand 
on the first day. 

Madame de Renal's housemaid, Elisa, had lost no time in 
falling in love with the young tutor. She often talked about 
him to her mistress. Elisa's love had earned for Julien the 
hatred of one of the men-servants. One day he heard the man 
saying to Elisa, " You haven't a word for me now that this 
dirty tutor has entered the household." The insult was un- 
deserved, but Julien with the instinctive vanity ot a pretty boy 
redoubled his care of his personal appearance. M. Valenod's 
hate also increased. He said publicly, that it was not be- 
coming for a young abbe to be such a fop. 

Madame de Renal observed that Julien talked more 
frequently than usual to Mademoiselle Elisa. She learnt that 
the reason of these interviews was the poverty of Julien's ex- 
tremely small wardrobe. He had so little linen that he was 
obliged to have it very frequently washed outside the house, 
and it was in these little matters that Elisa was useful to him. 
Madame de Renal was touched by this extreme poverty 
which she had never suspected before. She was anxious to 
make him presents, but she did not dare to do so. This inner 
conflict was the first painful emotion that Julien had caused 
her. Till then Julien's name had been synonymous with a 
pure and quite intellectual joy. Tormented by the idea of 


Julien's poverty, Madame de Renal spoke to her husband 
about giving him some linen for a present. 

" What nonsense," he answered, " the very idea of giving 
presents to a man with whom we are perfectly satisfied and 
who is a good servant. It will only be if he is remiss that we 
shall have to stimulate his zeal." 

Madame de Renal felt humiliated by this way of looking at 
things, though she would never have noticed it in the days 
before Julien's arrival. She never looked at the young abbe's 
attire, with its combination of simplicity and absolute cleanli- 
ness, without saying to herself, " The poor boy, how can he 
manage ? " 

Little by little, instead of being shocked by all Julien's 
deficiencies, she pitied him for them. 

Madame de Renal was one of those provincial women 
whom one is apt to take for fools during the first fortnight of 
acquaintanceship. She had no experience of the world and 
never bothered to keep up the conversation. Nature had 
given her a refined and fastidious soul, while that instinct for 
happiness which is innate in all human beings caused her, as 
a rule, to pay no attention to the acts of the coarse persons 
in whose midst chance had thrown her. If she had received 
the slightest education, she would have been noticeable for 
the spontaneity and vivacity of her mind, but being an heiress, 
she had been brought up in a Convent of Nuns, who were 
passionate devotees of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and 
animated by a violent hate for the French as being the 
enemies of the Jesuits. Madame de Renal had had enough 
sense to forget quickly all the nonsense which she had learned 
at the convent, but had substituted nothing for it, and in the 
long run knew nothing. The flatteries which had been 
lavished on her when still a child, by reason of the great 
fortune of which she was the heiress, and a decided tendency 
to passionate devotion, had given her quite an inner life of 
her own. In spite of her pose of perfect affability and her 
elimination of her individual will which was cited as a model 
example by all the husbands in Verrieres and which made M. 
de Renal feel very proud, the moods of her mind were usually 
dictated by a spirit of the most haughty discontent. 

Many a princess who has become a bye-word for pride has 
given infinitely more attention to what her courtiers have been 


doing around her than did this apparently gentle and demure 
woman to anything which her husband either said or did. Up 
to the time of Julien's arrival she had never really troubled about 
anything except her children. Their little maladies, their 
troubles, their little joys, occupied all the sensibility of that 
soul, who, during her whole life, had adored no one but God, 
when she had been at the Sacred Heart of Besancon. 

A feverish attack of one of her sons would affect her almost 
as deeply as if the child had died, though she would not 
deign to confide in anyone. A burst of coarse" laughter, a 
shrug of the shoulders, accompanied by some platitude on the 
folly of women, had been the only welcome her husband had 
vouchsafed to those confidences about her troubles, which 
the need of unburdening herself had induced her to make 
during the first years of their marriage. Jokes of this kind, 
and above all, when they were directed at her children's 
ailments, were exquisite torture to Madame de Renal. And 
these jokes were all she found to take the place of those 
exaggerated sugary flatteries with which she had been regaled 
at the Jesuit Convent where she had passed her youth. Her 
education had been given her by suffering. Too proud even 
to talk to her friend, Madame Derville, about troubles of this 
kind, she imagined that all men were like her husband, M. 
Valenod, and the sub-prefect, M. Charcot de Maugiron. 
Coarseness, and the most brutal callousness to everything 
except financial gain, precedence, or orders, together with 
blind hate of every argument to which they objected, seemed 
to her as natural to the male sex as wearing boots and felt 

After many years, Madame de Renal had still failed to 
acclimatize herself to those monied people in whose society 
she had to live. 

Hence the success of the little peasant Julien. She found 
in the sympathy of this proud and noble soul a sweet enjoy- 
ment which had all the glamour and fascination of novelty. 

Madame de Renal soon forgave him that extreme ignorance, 
which constituted but an additional charm, and the roughness 
of his manner which she succeeded in correcting. She 
thought that he was worth listening to, even when the con- 
versation turned on the most ordinary events, even in fact 
when it was only a question of a poor dog which had been 


crushed as he crossed the street by a peasant's cart going at 
a trot. The sight of the dog's pain made her husband indulge 
in his coarse laugh, while she noticed Julien frown, with his 
fine black eyebrows which were so beautifully arched. 

Little by little, it seemed to her that generosity, nobility of 
soul and humanity were to be found in nobody else except 
this young abbe\ She felt for him all the sympathy and even 
all the admiration which those virtues excite in well-born souls. 

If the scene had been Paris, Julien's position towards 
Madame de Renal would have been soon simplified. But at 
Paris, love is a creature of novels. The young tutor and his 
timid mistress would soon have found the elucidation of their 
position in three or four novels, and even in the couplets of the 
Gymnase Theatre. The novels which have traced out for 
them the part they would play, and showed them the model 
which they were to imitate, and Julien would sooner or later 
have been forced by his vanity to follow that model, even 
though it had given him no pleasure and had perhaps actually 
gone against the grain. 

If the scene had been laid in a small town in Aveyron 
or the Pyrenees, the slightest episode would have been 
rendered crucial by the fiery condition of the atmosphere. But 
under our more gloomy skies, a poor young man who is only 
ambitious because his natural refinement makes him feel the 
necessity of some of those joys which only money can give, 
can see every day a woman of thirty who is sincerely virtuous, 
is absorbed in her children, and never goes to novels for her 
examples of conduct. Everything goes slowly, everything 
happens gradually, in the provinces where there is far more 

Madame de Renal was often overcome to the point of 
tears when she thought of the young tutor's poverty. Julien 
surprised her one day actually crying. 

" Oh Madame ! has any misfortune happened to you ? " 

" No, my friend," she answered, " call the children, let us 
go for a walk." 

She took his arm and leant on it in a manner that struck 
Julien as singular. It was the first time she had called 
Julien " My friend." 

Towards the end of the walk, Julien noticed that she was 
blushing violently. She slackened her pace. 


" You have no doubt heard," she said, " without looking 
at him, that I am the only heiress of a very rich aunt who 

lives at Besancon. She loads me with presents My 

sons are getting on so wonderfully that I should like to ask 
you to accept a small present as a token of my gratitude. It 
is only a matter of a few louis to enable you to get some 
linen. But " she added, blushing still more, and she left 
off speaking 

" But what, Madame ? " said Julien. 

" It is unnecessary," she went on lowering her head, " to 
mention this to my husband." 

" I may not be big, Madame, but I am not mean," answered 
Julien, stopping, and drawing himself up to his full height, 
with his eyes shining with rage, " and this is what you 
have not realised sufficiently. I should be lower than a 
menial if I were to put myself in the position of concealing 
from M de. Renal anything at all having to do with my 

Madame de Renal was thunderstruck. 

" The Mayor," went on Julien, " has given me on five 
occasions sums of thirty-six francs since I have been living 
in his house. I am ready to show any account-book to M. 
de Renal and anyone else, even to M. Valenod who hates 

As the result of this outburst, Madame de Renal remained 
pale and nervous, and the walk ended without either one or 
the other finding any pretext for renewing the conversation. 
Julien's proud heart had found it more and more impossible to 
love Madame de Renal. 

As for her, she respected him, she admired him, and she 
had been scolded by him. Under the pretext of making up 
for the involuntary humiliation which she had caused him, 
she indulged in acts of the most tender solicitude. The 
novelty of these attentions made Madame de Renal happy for 
eight days. Their effect was to appease to some extent 
Julien's anger. He was far from seeing anything in them in 
the nature of a fancy for himself personally. 

"That is just what rich people are," he said to himself 
" they snub you and then they think they can make up for 
everything by a few monkey tricks." 

Madame de Renal's heart was too full, and at the same time 


too innocent, for her not too tell her husband, in spite of 
her resolutions not to do so, about the offer she had 
made to Julien, and the manner in which she had been 

" How on earth," answered M. de Renal, keenly piqued, 
" could you put up with a refusal on the part of a servant," 
and, when Madame de Renal protested against the word 
" Servant," " I am using, madam, the words of the late Prince 
of Conde, when he presented his Chamberlains to his new 
wife. ' All these people ' he said ' are servants.' I have also 
read you this passage from the Memoirs of Besenval, a book 
which is indispensable on all questions of etiquette. ' Every 
person, not a gentleman, who lives in your house and receives 
a salary is your servant.' I'll go and say a few words to M. 
Julien and give him a hundred francs." 

" Oh, my dear," said Madame De Renal trembling, " I hope 
you won't do it before the servants ! " 

" Yes, they might be jealous and rightly so," said hei 
husband as he took his leave, thinking of the greatness ot 
the sum. 

Madame de Renal fell on a chair almost fainting in her 
anguish. He is going to humiliate Julien, and it is my fault ! 
She felt an abhorrence for her husband and hid her face in 
her hands. She resolved that henceforth she would never 
make any more confidences. 

When she saw Julien again she was trembling all over. 
Her chest was so cramped that she could not succeed in 
pronouncing a single word. In her embarrassment she took 
his hands and pressed them. 

" Well, my friend," she said to him at last, " are you 
satisfied with my husband ? " 

" How could I be otherwise," answered Julien, with a bitter 
smile, " he has given me a hundred francs." 

Madame de Renal looked at him doubtfully. 

" Give me your arm," she said at last, with a courageous 
intonation that Julien had not heard before. 

She dared to go as far as the shop of the bookseller of Verrieres, 
in spite of his awful reputation for Liberalism. In the shop she 
chose ten louis worth of books for a present for her sons. 
But these books were those which she knew Julien was 
wanting. She insisted on each child writing his name then 


and there in the bookseller's shop in those books which fell to 
his lot. While Madame de Renal was rejoicing over the kind 
reparation which she had had the courage to make to Julien, 
the latter was overwhelmed with astonishment at the quantity 
of books which he saw at the bookseller's. He had never 
dared to enter so profane a place. His heart was palpitating. 
Instead of trying to guess what was passing in Madame de 
Renal's heart he pondered deeply over the means by which a 
young theological student could procure some of those books. 
Eventually it occurred to him that it would be possible, with 
tact, to persuade M. de Renal that one of the proper subjects 
of his sons' curriculum would be the history of the celebrated 
gentlemen who had been born in the province. After a month 
of careful preparation Julien witnessed the success of this idea. 
The success was so great that he actually dared to risk 
mentioning to M. de Renal in conversation, a matter which 
the noble mayor found disagreeable from quite another point 
of view. The suggestion was to contribute to the fortune of 
a Liberal by taking a subscription at the bookseller's. M. 
de Renal agreed that it would be wise to give his elder son a 
first hand acquaintance with many works which he would 
hear mentioned in conversation when he went to the 
Military School. 

But Julien saw that the mayor had determined to go no 
further. He suspected some secret reason but could not 
guess it. 

" I was thinking, sir," he said to him one day, " that it would 
be highly undesirable for the name of so good a gentleman as 
a Renal to appear on a bookseller's dirty ledger." M. de 
Renal's face cleared. 

" It would also be a black mark," continued Julien in a 
more humble tone, " against a poor theology student if it ever 
leaked out that his name had been on the ledger of a book- 
seller who let out books. The Liberals might go so far as to 
accuse me of having asked for the most infamous books. 
Who knows if they will not even go so far as to write the 
titles of those perverse volumes after my name ? But Julien 
was getting off the track. He noticed that the Mayor's 
physiognomy was re-assuming its expression of embarrassment 
and displeasure. Julien was silent. " I have caught my man " 
he said to himself. 


It so happened that a few days afterwards the elder of the 
children asked Julien, in M. de Renal's presence, about a book 
which had been advertised in the Quotidienne. 

" In order to prevent the Jacobin Party having the slightest 
pretext for a score," said the young tutor, " and yet give me 
the means of answering M. de Adolphe's question, you can 
make your most menial servant take out a subscription at the 

" That's not a bad idea," said M. de Renal, who was 
obviously very delighted. 

" You will have to stipulate all the same," said Julien in that 
solemn and almost melancholy manner which suits some 
people so well when they see the realization of matters which 
they have desired for a long time past, " you will 
have to stipulate that the servant should not take out any 
novels. Those dangerous books, once they got into the 
house, might corrupt Madame de Renal's maids, and even the 
servant himself." 

" You are forgetting the political pamphlets," went on M. 
de Renal with an important air. He was anxious to conceal 
the admiration with which the cunning " middle course " 
devised by his children's tutor had filled him. 

In this way Julien's life was made up of a series of little 
acts of diplomacy, and their success gave him far more food 
for thought than the marked manifestation of favouritism which 
he could have read at any time in Madame de Renal's heart, 
had he so wished. 

The psychological position in which he had found himself all 
his life was renewed again in the mayor of Verriere's house. 
Here in the same way as at his father's saw-mill, he deeply 
despised the people with whom he lived, and was hated by 
them. He saw every day in the conversation of the sub- 
perfect, M. Valenod and the other friends of the family, about 
things which had just taken place under their very eyes, how 
little ideas corresponded to reality. If an action seemed to 
Julien worthy of admiration, it was precisely that very action 
which would bring down upon itself the censure of the people 
with whom he lived. His inner mental reply always was, "What 
beasts or what fools ! " The joke was that, in spite of all his 
pride, he often understood absolutely nothing what they were 
talking about. 


Throughout his whole life he had only spoken sincerely to 
the old Surgeon-Major. 

The few ideas he had were about Buonaparte's Italian 
Campaigns or else surgery. His youthful courage revelled in 
the circumstantial details of the most terrible operations. He 
said to himself. 

" I should not have flinched." 

The first time that Madame de Renal tried to enter into 
conversation independently of the children's education, he 
began to talk of surgical operations. She grew pale and 
asked him to leave off. Julien knew nothing beyond 

So it came about that, though he passed his life in Madame 
de Renal's company, the most singular silence would reign 
between them as soon as they were alone. 

When he was in the salon, she noticed in his eyes, in spite 
of all the humbleness of his demeanour, an air of intellectual 
superiority towards everyone who came to visit her. If she 
found herself alone with him for a single moment, she saw 
that he was palpably embarrassed. This made her feel un- 
easy, for her woman's instinct caused her to realise that this 
embarrassment was not inspired by any tenderness. 

Owing to some mysterious idea, derived from some tale of 
good society, such as the old Surgeon-Major had seen it, 
Julien felt humiliated whenever the conversation languished 
on any occasion when he found himself in a woman's society, 
as though the particular pause were his own special fault. 
This sensation was a huudred times more painful in tete-a-tete. 
His imagination, full as it was of the most extravagant and 
most Spanish ideas of what a man ought to say when he is 
alone with a woman, only suggested to the troubled youth 
things which were absolutely impossible. His soul was in the 
clouds. Nevertheless he was unable to emerge from this most 
humiliating silence. Consequently, during his long walks 
with Madame de Renal and the children, the severity of his 
manner was accentuated by the poignancy of his sufferings. 
He despised himself terribly. If, by any luck, he made him- 
self speak, he came out with the most absurd things. To put 
the finishing touch on his misery, he saw his own absurdity 
and exaggerated its extent, but what he did not see was the 
expression in his eyes, which were so beautiful and betokened 


so ardent a soul, that like good actors, they sometimes gave 
charm to something which is really devoid of it. 

Madame de Renal noticed that when he was alone with her 
he never chanced to say a good thing except when he was 
taken out of himself by some unexpected event, and conse- 
quently forgot to try and turn a compliment. As the friends 
of the house did not spoil her by regaling her with new and 
brilliant ideas, she enjoyed with delight all the flashes of 
Julien's intellect. 

After the fall of Napoleon, every appearance of gallantry 
has been severely exiled from provincial etiquette. People 
are frightened of losing their jobs. All rascals look to the 
religious order for support, aud hypocrisy has made firm 
progress even among the Liberal classes. One's ennui is 
doubled. The only pleasures left are reading and agriculture. 

Madame de Renal, the rich heiress of a devout aunt, and 
married at sixteen to a respectable gentleman, had never felt 
or seen in her whole life anything that had the slightest 
resemblance in the whole world to love. Her confessor, 
the good cure* Chelan, had once mentioned love to her, in 
discussing the advances of M. de Valenod, and had drawn so 
loathsome a picture of the passion that the word now stood 
to her for nothing but the most abject debauchery. She had 
regarded love, such as she had come across it, in the very 
small number of novels with which chance had made her 
acquainted, as an exception if not indeed as something 
absolutely abnormal. It was, thanks to this ignorance, that 
Madame de Renal, although incessantly absorbed in Julien, 
was perfectly happy, and never thought of reproaching herself 
in the slightest. 



" Then there were sighs, the deeper for suppression, 
And stolen glances sweeter for the theft, 
And burning blushes, though for no transgression.' 

Don Juan, c. I, st. 74. 

It was only when Madame de Renal began to think of her 
maid Elisa that there was some slight change in that angelic 
sweetness which she owed both to her natural character and 
her actual happiness, The girl had come into a fortune, went 
to confess herself to the cure Chelan and confessed to him her 
plan of marrying Julien. The cure* was truly rejoiced at his 
friend's good fortune, but he was extremely surprised when 
Julien resolutely informed him that Mademoiselle Elisa's offer 
could not suit him. 

" Beware, my friend, of what is passing within youfheart," said 
the cure with a frown, " I congratulate you on your mission, 
if that is the only reason why you despise a more than ample 
fortune. It is fifty-six years since I was first cure of Verrieres, 
and yet I shall be turned out, according to all appearances. 
I am distressed by it, and yet my income amounts to eight 
hundred francs. I inform you of this detail so that you may 
not be under any illusions as to what awaits you in your 
career as a priest. If you think of paying court to the men 
who enjoy power, your eternal damnation is assured. You 
may make your fortune, but you will have to do harm to the 
poor, flatter the sub-prefect, the mayor, the man who enjoys 
prestige, and pander to his passion; this conduct, which in 
the world is called knowledge of life, is not absolutely 
incompatible with salvation so far as a layman is concerned ; 
but in our career we have to make a choice ; it is a question 


of making one's fortune either in this world or the next ; there 
is no middle course. Come, my dear friend, reflect, and come 
back in three days with a definite answer. I am pained to 
detect that there is at the bottom of your character a sombre 
passion which is far from indicating to me that moderation 
and that perfect renunciation of earthly advantages so necessary 
for a priest ; I augur well of your intellect, but allow me to tell 
you," added the good cure with tears in his eyes, " I tremble 
for your salvation in your career as a priest." 

Julien was ashamed of his emotion ; he found himself loved 
for the first time in his life ; he wept with delight ; and went to 
hide his tears in the great woods behind Verrieres. 

" Why am I in this position ? " he said to himself at last, 
" I feel that I would give my life a hundred times over for 
this good cure Chelan, and he has just proved to me that I am 
nothing more than a fool. It is especially necessary for me 
to deceive him, and he manages to find me out. The secret 
ardour which he refers to is my plan of making my fortune. 
He thinks I am unworthy of being a priest, that too, just when 
I was imagining that my sacrifice of fifty louis would give him 
the very highest idea of my piety and devotion to my mission." 

" In future," continued Julien, " I will only reckon on those 
elements in my character which I have tested. Who could 
have told me that I should find any pleasure in shedding tears ? 
How I should like some one to convince me that I am simply 
a fool ! " 

Three days later, Julien found the excuse with which he 
ought to have been prepared on the first day ; the excuse was 
a piece of calumny, but what did it matter ? He confessed to 
the cure, with a great deal of hesitation, that he had been 
persuaded from the suggested union by a reason he could not 
explain, inasmuch as it tended to damage a third party. This 
was equivalent to impeaching Elisa's conduct. M. Chelan 
found that his manner betrayed a certain worldly fire which 
was very different from that which ought to have animated a 
young acolyte. 

" My friend," he said to him again, " be a good country 
citizen, respected and educated, rather than a priest without a 
true mission." 

So far as words were concerned, Julien answered these new 
remonstrances very well. He managed to find the words 


which a young and ardent seminarist would have employed, 
but the tone in which he pronounced them, together with the 
thinly concealed fire which blazed in his eye, alarmed M. 

You must not have too bad an opinion of Julien's prospects. 
He invented with correctness all the words suitable to a prudent 
and cunning hypocrisy. It was not bad for his age. As for 
his tone and his gestures, he had spent his life with country 
people ; he had never been given an opportunity of seeing 
great models. Consequently, as soon as he was given a 
chance of getting near such gentlemen, his gestures became 
as admirable as his words. 

Madame de Renal was astonished that her maid's new 
fortune did not make her more happy. She saw her repeatedly 
going to the cure and coming back with tears in her eyes. At 
last Elisa talked to her of her marriage. 

Madame de Renal thought she was ill. A kind of fever 
prevented her from sleeping. She only lived when either her 
maid or Julien were in sight. She was unable to think of 
anything except them and the happiness which they would 
find in their home. Her imagination depicted in the most 
fascinating colours the poverty of the little house, where they 
were to live on their income of fifty louis a year. J ulien could 
quite well become an advocate at Bray, the sub-prefecture, 
two leagues from Verrieres. In that case she would see him 
sometimes. Madame de Renal sincerely believed she would 
go mad. She said so to her husband and finally fell ill. 
That very evening when her maid was attending her, she 
noticed that the girl was crying. She abhorred Elisa at that 
moment, and started to scold her ; she then begged her 
pardon. Elisa's tears redoubled. She said if her mistress 
would allow her, she would tell her all her unhappiness. 

" Tell me," answered Madame de Renal. 

" Well, Madame, he refuses me, some wicked people must 
have spoken badly about me. He believes them." 

" Who refuses you ? " said Madame de Renal, scarcely 

" Who else, Madame, but M. Julien," answered the maid 
sobbing. " M. the cure had been unable to overcome his 
resistance, for M. the cure thinks that he ought not to refuse 
an honest girl on the pretext that she has been a maid. After 


all, M. Julien's father is nothing more than a carpenter, 
and how did he himself earn his living before he was at 
Madame's ? " 

Madame de Rena stopped listening ; her excessive happiness 
had almost deprived her of her reason. She made the girl 
repeat several times the assurance that Julien had refused her, 
with a positiveness which shut the door on the possibility of 
his coming round to a more prudent decision. 

" I will make a last attempt," she said to her maid. " I 
will speak to M. Julien." 

The following day, after breakfast, Madame de Renal 
indulged in the delightful luxury of pleading her rival's cause, 
and of seeing Elisa's hand and fortune stubbornly refused for 
a whole hour. 

Julien gradually emerged from his cautiously worded answers, 
and finished by answering with spirit Madame de Renal's 
good advice. She could not help being overcome by the 
torrent of happiness which, after so many days of despair, 
now inundated her soul. She felt quite ill. When she had 
recovered and was comfortably in her own room she sent 
everyone away. She was profoundly astonished. 

" Can I be in love with Julien ? " she finally said to herself. 
This discovery, which at any other time would have plunged 
her into remorse and the deepest agitation, now only produced 
the effect of a singular, but as it were, indifferent spectacle. 
Her soul was exhausted by all that she had just gone through, 
and had no more sensibility to passion left. 

Madame de Renal tried to work, and fell into a deep sleep ; 
when she woke up she did not frighten herself so much as 
she ought to have. She was too happy to be able to see 
anything wrong in anything. Naive and innocent as she 
was, this worthy provincial woman had never tortured her 
soul in her endeavours to extract from it a little sensibility 
to some new shade of sentiment or unhappiness. Entirely 
absorbed as she had been before Julien's arrival with that 
mass of work which falls to the lot of a good mistress of a 
household away from Paris, Madame de Renal thought of 
passion in the same way in which we think of a lottery : a 
certain deception, a happiness sought after by fools. 

The dinner bell rang. Madame de Renal blushed violently. 
She heard the voice of Julien who was bringing in the children. 



Having grown somewhat adroit since her falling in love, she 
complained of an awful headache in order to explain her 

"That's just like what all women are," answered M. de 
Renal with a coarse laugh. "Those machines have always 
got something or other to be put right." 

Although she was accustomed to this type of wit, Madame 
de Renal was shocked by the tone of voice. In order to 
distract herself, she looked at Julien's physiognomy ; he 
would have pleased her at this particular moment, even 
if he had been the ugliest man imaginable. 

M. de Renal, who always made a point of copying the 
habits of the gentry of the court, established himself at Vergy 
in the first fine days of the spring ; this is the village rendered 
celebrated by the tragic adventure of Gabrielle. A hundred 
paces from the picturesque ruin of the old Gothic church, 
M. de Renal owns an old chateau with its four towers and 
a garden designed like the one in the Tuileries with a great 
many edging verges of box and avenues of chestnut trees 
which are cut twice in the year. An adjacent field, crowded 
with apple trees, served for a promenade. Eight or ten 
magnificent walnut trees were at the end of the orchard. 
Their immense foliage went as high as perhaps eighty feet. 

" Each of these cursed walnut trees," M. de Renal was in 
the habit of saying, whenever his wife admired them, " costs 
me the harvest of at least half an acre; corn cannot grow 
under their shade." 

Madame de Renal found the sight of the country novel : 
her admiration reached the point of enthusiasm. The sentiment 
by which she was animated gave her both ideas and resolution. 
M. de Renal had returned to the town, for mayoral business, 
two days after their arrival in Vergy. But Madame de Renal 
engaged workmen at her own expense. Julien had given her 
the idea of a little sanded path which was to go round the 
orchard and under the big walnut trees, and render it possible 
for the children to take their walk in the very earliest hours 
of the morning without getting their feet wet from the dew. 
This idea was put into execution within twenty-four hours of 
its being conceived. Madame de Renal gaily spent the whole 
day with Julien in supervising the workmen. 

When the Mayor ot Verrieres came back from the town 


he was very surprised to find the avenue completed. His 
arrival surprised Madame de Renal as well. She had forgotten 
his existence. For two months he talked with irritation about 
the boldness involved in making so important a repair without 
consulting him, but Madame de Renal had had it executed 
at her own expense, a fact which somewhat consoled him. 

She spent her days in running about the orchard with her 
children, and in catching butterflies. They had made big 
hoods of clear gauze with which they caught the poor 
lepidoptera. This is the barbarous name which Julien taught 
Madame de Renal. For she had had M. Godart's fine work 
ordered from Besancon, and Julien used to tell her about 
the strange habits of the creatures. 

They ruthlessly transfixed them by means of pins in a 
great cardboard box which Julien had prepared. 

Madame de Renal and Julien had at last a topic of 
conversation ; he was no longer exposed to the awful torture 
that had been occasioned by their moments of silence. 

They talked incessantly and with extreme interest, though 
always about very innocent matters. This gay, full, active 
life, pleased the fancy of everyone, except Mademoiselle Elisa 
who found herself overworked. Madame had never taken 
so much trouble with her dress, even at carnival time, when 
there is a ball at Verrieres, she would say ; she changes her 
gowns two or three times a day. 

As it is not our intention to flatter anyone, we do not 
propose to deny that Madame de Renal, who had a superb 
skin, arranged her gowns in such a way as to leave her arms 
and her bosom very exposed. She was extremely well made, 
and this style of dress suited her delightfully. 

"You have never been so yoting, Madame," her Verrieres 
friends would say to her, when they came to dinner at Vergy 
(this is one of the local expressions). 

It is a singular thing, and one which few amongst us will 
believe, but Madame de Renal had no specific object in 
taking so much trouble. She found pleasure in it and spent 
all the time which she did not pass in hunting butterflies with 
the children and Julien, in working with Elisa at making 
gowns, without giving the matter a further thought. Her 
only expedition to Verrieres was caused by her desire to buy 
some new summer gowns which had just come from Mulhouse. 


She brought back to Vergy a young woman who was a 
relative of hers. Since her marriage, Madame de Renal had 
gradually become attached to Madame Derville, who had 
once been her school mate at the Sacr Coeur. 

Madame Derville laughed a great deal at what she called 
her cousin's mad ideas : " I would never have thought of 
them alone," she said. When Madame de Renal was with her 
husband, she was ashamed of those sudden ideas, which, are 
called sallies in Paris, and thought them quite silly : but 
Madame Derville's presence gave her courage. She would 
start to telling her her thoughts in a timid voice, but after 
the ladies had been alone for a long time, Madame de Renal's 
brain became more animated, and a long morning spent 
together by the two friends passed like a second, and left them 
in the best of spirits. On this particular journey, however, 
the acute Madame Derville thought her cousin much less 
merry, but much more happy than usual. 

Julien, on his side, had since coming to the country lived 
like an absolute child, and been as happy as his pupils in 
running after the butterflies. After so long a period of 
constraint and wary diplomacy, he was at last alone and far 
from human observation ; he was instinctively free from any 
apprehension on the score of Madame de Renal, and 
abandoned himself to the sheer pleasure of being alive, which 
is so keen at so young an age, especially among the most 
beautiful mountains in the world. 

Ever since Madame Derville's arrival, Julien thought that 
she was his friend ; he took the first opportunity of showing 
her the view from the end of the new avenue, under the 
walnut tree; as a matter of fact it is equal, if not superior, 
to the most wonderful views that Switzerland and the Italian 
lakes can offer. If you ascend the steep slope which com- 
mences some paces from there, you soon arrive at great 
precipices fringed by oak forests, which almost jut on to the 
river. It was to the peaked summits of these rocks that 
Julien, who was now happy, free, and king of the household 
into the bargain, would take the two friends, and enjoy their 
admiration these sublime views. 

" To me it's like Mozart's music," Madame Derville would 

The country around Verrieres had been spoilt for Julien 


by the jealousy of his brothers and the presence of a tyranous 
and angry father. He was free from these bitter memories 
at Vergy; for the first time in his life, he failed to see an 
enemy. When, as frequently happened, M. de Renal was in 
town, he ventured to read ; soon, instead of reading at night 
time, a procedure, moreover, which involved carefully hiding 
his lamp at the bottom of a flower-pot turned upside dowri, 
he was able to indulge in sleep ; in the day, however, in the 
intervals between the children's lessons, he would come among 
these rocks with that book which was the one guide of his 
conduct and object of his enthusiasm. He found in it 
simultaneously happiness, ecstasy and consolation for his 
moments of discouragement. 

Certain remarks of Napoleon about women, several dis- 
cussions about the merits of the novels which were fashionable 
in his reign, furnished him now for the first time with some 
ideas which any other young man of his age would have had 
for a long time. 

The dog days arrived. They started the habit of spending 
the evenings under an immense pine tree some yards from the 
house. The darkness was profound. One evening, Julien was 
speaking and gesticulating, enjoying to the full the pleasure of 
being at his best when talking to young women ; in one of his 
gestures, he touched the hand of Madame de Renal which 
was leaning on the back of one of those chairs of painted 
wood, which are so frequently to be seen in gardens. 

The hand was quickly removed, but Julien thought it a 
point of duty to secure that that hand should not be removed 
when he touched it. The idea of a duty to be performed and 
the consciousness of his stultification, or rather of his social 
inferiority, if he should fail in acheiving it, immediately 
banished all pleasure from his heart. 


M. Guerin's Dido, a charming sketch ! Strombeck. 

His expression was singular when he saw Madame de Renal 
the next day; he watched her like an enemy with whom he 
would have to fight a duel. These looks, which were so 
different from those of the previous evening, made Madame 
de Renal lose her head ; she had been kind to him and he 
appeared angry. She could not take her eyes off his. 

Madame Derville's presence allowed Julien to devote less 
time to conversation, and more time to thinking about what 
he had in his mind. His one object all this day was to fortify 
himself by reading the inspired book that gave strength to 
his soul. 

He considerably curtailed the children's lessons, and when 
Madame de Renal's presence had effectually brought him back 
to the pursuit of his ambition, he decided that she absolutely 
must allow her hand to rest in his that evening. 

The setting of the sun which brought the crucial moment 
nearer and nearer made Julien's heart beat in a strange way. 
Night came. He noticed with a joy, which took an immense 
weight off his heart, that it was going to be very dark. The 
sky, which was laden with big clouds that had been brought 
along by a sultry wind, seemed to herald a storm. The two 
friends went for their walk very late. All they did that night 
struck Julien as strange. They were enjoying that hour which 
seems to give certain refined souls an increased pleasure in 

At last they sat down, Madame de Renal beside Julien, and 
Madame Derville near her friend. Engrossed as he was by 


the attempt which he was going to make, Julien could think 
of nothing to say. The conversation languished. 

"Shall I be as nervous and miserable over my first duel? " 
said Julien to himself; for he was too suspicious both of him- 
self and of others, not to realise his own mental state. 

In his mortal anguish, he would have preferred any danger 
whatsoever. How many times did he not wish some matter 
to crop up which would necessitate Madame de Renal going 
into the house and leaving the garden ! The violent strain on 
Julien's nerves was too great for his voice not to be considers 
ably changed ; soon Madame de Renal's voice became nervoua 
as well, but Julien did not notice it. The awful battle raging 
between duty and timidity was too painful, for him to be in -- 
position to observe anything outside himself. A quarter to 
ten had just struck on the chateau clock without his having 
ventured anything. Julien was indignant at his own coward 
ice, and said to himself, " at the exact moment when ten o'clock 
strikes, I will perform what I have resolved to do all through 
the day, or I will go up to my room and blow out my 

After a final moment of expectation and anxiety, during 
which Julien was rendered almost beside himself by his ex- 
cessive emotion, ten o'clock struck from the clock over his 
head. Each stroke of the fatal clock reverberated in his 
bosom, and caused an almost physical pang. 

Finally, when the last stroke of ten was still reverberating, 
he stretched out his hand and took Madame de Renal's, who 
immediately withdrew it. Julien, scarcely knowing what he 
was doing, seized it again. In spite of his own excitement, he 
could not help being struck by the icy coldness of the hand 
which he was taking ; he pressed it convulsively ; a last effort 
was made to take it away, but in the end the hand remained 
in his. 

His soul was inundated with happiness, not that he loved 
Madame de Renal, but an awful torture had just ended. He 
thought it necessary to say something, to avoid Madame 
Derville noticing anything. His voice was now strong and 
ringing. Madame de Renal's, on the contrary, betrayed so 
much emotion that her friend thought she was ill, and sug- 
gested her going in. Julien scented danger, " if Madame de 
Renal goes back to the salon, I shall relapse into the awful 


state in which I have been all day. I have held the hand far 
too short a time for it really to count as the scoring of an 
actual advantage." 

At the moment when Madame Derville was repeating her 
suggestion to go back to the salon, Julien squeezed vigor- 
ously the hand that was abandoned to him. 

Madame de Renal, who had started to get up, sat down 
again and said in a faint voice, 

" I feel a little ill, as a matter of fact, but the open air is 
doing me good." 

These words confirmed Julien's happiness, which at the 
present moment was extreme ; he spoke, he forgot to pose, 
and appeared the most charming man in the world to the two 
friends who were listening to him. Nevertheless, there was a 
slight lack of courage in all this eloquence which had suddenly 
come upon him. He was mortally afraid that Madame 
Derville would get tired of the wind before the storm, which 
was beginning to rise, and want to go back alone into the 
salon. He would then have remained tete a-tete with Madame 
de Renal. He had had, almost by accident that blind courage 
which is sufficient for action ; but he felt that it was out of his 
power to speak the simplest word to Madame de Renal. He 
was certain that, however slight her reproaches might be, he 
would nevertheless be worsted, and that the advantage he had 
just won would be destroyed. 

Luckily for him on this evening, his moving and emphatic 
speeches found favour with Madame Derville, who very often 
found him as clumsy as a child and not at all amusing. As 
for Madame de Renal, with her hand in Julien's, she did not 
have a thought; she simply allowed herself to go on living. 
The hours spent under this great pine tree, planted by 
by Charles the Bold according to the local tradition, were a 
real period of happiness. She listened with delight to the 
soughing of the wind in the thick foliage of the pine tree 
and to the noise of some stray drops which were beginning to 
fall upon the leaves which were lowest down. Julien failed 
to notice one circumstance which, if he had, would have 
quickly reassured him; MSsdame de Renal, who had been 
obliged to take away her hand, because she had got up to help 
her cousin to pick up a flower-pot which the wind had knocked 
over at her feet, had scarcely sat down again before she gave 


him her hand with scarcely any difficulty and as though it had 
already been a pre-arranged thing between them. 

Midnight had struck a long timo ago ; it was at last neces- 
sary to leave the garden ; they separated. Madame de Renal 
swept away as she was, by the happiness of loving, was so 
completely ignorant of the world that she scarcely reproached 
herself at all. Her happiness deprived her of her sleep. A 
leaden sleep overwhelmed Julien who was mortally fatigued by 
the battle which timidity and pride had waged in his heart all 
through the day. 

He was called at five o'clockon the following day and 
scarcely gave Madame de Renal a single thought. 

He had accomplished his duty, and a heroic duty too. 
The conciousness of this filled him with happiness ; he locked 
himself in his room, and abandoned himself with quite a new 
pleasure to reading exploits of his hero. 

When the breakfast bell sounded, the reading of the 
Bulletins of the Great Army had made him forget all his 
advantages of the previous day. He said to himself flippantly, 
as he went down to the salon, " I must tell that woman that I 
am in love with her." Instead of those looks brimful of 
pleasure which he was expecting to meet, he found the stern 
visage of M. de Renal, who had arrived from Verrieres two 
hours ago, and did not conceal his dissatisfaction at Julien's 
having passed the whole morning without attending to the 
children. Nothing could have been more sordid than this 
self-important man when he was in a bad temper and thought 
that he could safely show it. 

Each harsh word of her husband pierced Madame de 
Renal's heart. 

As for Julien, he was so plunged in his ecstasy, and still so 
engrossed by the great events which had been passing before 
his eyes for several hours, that he had some difficulty at first 
in bringing his attention sufficiently down to listen to the harsh 
remarks which M. de Renal was addressing to him. He said 
to him at last, rather abruptly, 

" I was ill." 

The tone of this answer would have stung a much less 
sensitive man than the mayor of Verrieres. He half thought 
of answering Julien by turning him out of the house straight 
away. He was only restrained by the maxim which he had 


prescribed for himself, of never hurrying unduly in business 

"The young fool," he said to himself shortly afterwards, 
"has won a kind of reputation in my house. That man 
Valenod may take him into his family, or he may quite well 
marry Elisa, and in either case, he will be able to have the 
laugh of me in his heart." 

In spite of the wisdom of these reflections, M. de Renal's 
dissatisfaction did not fail to vent itself any the less by a string 
of coarse insults which gradually irritated Julien. Madame 
de Renal was on the point of bursting into tears. Breakfast 
was scarcely over, when she asked Julien to give her his arm 
for a walk. She leaned on him affectionately. Julien could 
only answer all that Madame de Renal said to him by 

" Thafs what rich people are like/" 

M. de Renal was walking quite close to them ; his presence 
increased Julien's anger. He suddenly noticed that Madame 
de Renal was leaning on his arm in a manner which was some- 
what marked. This horrified him, and he pushed her violently 
away and disengaged his arm. 

Luckily, M. de Renal did not see this new piece of im- 
pertinence ; it was only noticed by Madame Derville. Her friend 
burst into tears. M. de Renal now started to chase away by 
a shower of stones a little peasant girl who had taken a private 
path crossing a corner of the orchard. "Monsieur Julien, 
restrain yourself, I pray you. Remember that we all have our 
moments of temper," said madame Derville rapidly. 

Julien looked at her coldly with eyes in which the most 
supreme contempt was depicted. 

This look astonished Madame Derville, and it would have 
surprised her even more if she had appreciated its real ex- 
pression ; she would have read in it something like a vague 
hope of the most atrocious vengeance. It is, no doubt, such 
moments of humiliation which have made Robespierres. 

"Your Julien is very violent; he frightens me," said 
Madame Derville to her friend, in a low voice. 

" He is right to be angry," she answered. " What does it 
matter if he does pass a morning without speaking to the 
children, after the astonishing progress .which he has made 
them make. One must admit that men are very hard." 


For the first time in her life Madame de Renal experienced 
a kind of desire for vengeance against her husband. The 
extreme hatred of the rich by which Julien was animated was 
on the point of exploding. Luckily, M. de Renal called his 
gardener, and remained occupied with him in barring by 
faggots of thorns the private road through the orchard. Julien 
did not vouchsafe any answer to the kindly consideration of 
which he was the object during all the rest of the walk. M. 
de Renal had scarcely gone away before the two friends made 
the excuse of being fatigued, and each asked him for an arm. 

Walking as he did between these two women whose extreme 
nervousness filled their cheeks with a blushing embarrassment, 
the haughty pallor and sombre, resolute air of Julien formed 
a strange contrast. He despised these women and all tender 

" What ! " he said to himself, " not even an income of five 
hundred francs to finish my studies ! Ah ! how I should like 
to send them packing." 

And absorbed as he was by these stern ideas, such few 
courteous words of his two friends as he deigned to take the 
trouble to understand, displeased him as devoid of sense, silly, 
feeble, in a word feminine. 

As the result of speaking for the sake of speaking and of 
endeavouring to keep the conversation alive, it came about 
that Madame de Renal mentioned that her husband had come 
from Verrieres because he had made a bargain for the May 
straw with one of his farmers. (In this district it is the May 
straw with which the bed mattresses are filled). 

" My husband will not rejoin us," added Madame de Renal ; 
"he will occupy himself with finishing the re-stuffing of the 
house mattresses with the help of the gardener and his valet. 
He has put the May straw this morning in all the beds on the 
first storey ; he is now at the second." 

Julien changed colour. He looked at Madame de Renal in 
a singular way, and soon managed somehow to take her on 
one side, doubling his pace. Madame Derville allowed them 
to get ahead. 

"Save my life," said Julien to Madame de Renal; "only 
you can do it, for you know that the valet hates me 
desperately. I must confess to you, madame, that I have a 
portrait. I have hidden it in the mattress of my bed." 


At these words Madame de Renal in her turn became pale 

"Only you, Madame, are aMe at this moment to go into 
my room, feel about without their noticing in the corner of 
the mattress ; it is nearest the window. You will find a small, 
round box of black cardboard, very glossy." 

" Does it contain a portrait ? " said Madame de Renal, 
scarcely able to hold herself upright. 

Julien noticed her air of discouragement, and at once pro- 
ceeded to exploit it. 

" I have a second favour to ask you, madame. 1 entreat 
you not to look at that portrait; it is my secret." 

" It is a secret," repeated Madame de Renal in a faint 

But though she had been brought up among people who 
are proud of their fortune and appreciative of nothing except 
money, love had already instilled generosity into her soul. 
Truly wounded as she was, it was with an air of the most 
simple devotion that Madame de Renal asked Julien the 
questions necessary to enable her to fulfil her commission. 

" So " she said to him as she went away, " it is a little round 
box of black cardboard, very glossy." 

" Yes, Madame," answered Julien, with that hardness which 
danger gives to men. 

She ascended the second storey of the chateau as pale as 
though she had been going to her death. Her misery was 
completed by the sensation that she was on the verge of 
falling ill, but the necessity of doing Julien a service restored 
her strength. 

" I must have that box," she said to herself, as she doubled 
her pace. 

She heard her husband speaking to the valet in Julien's very 
room. Happily, they passed into the children's room. She 
lifted up the mattress, and plunged her hand into the stuffing 
so violently that she bruised her fingers. But, though she 
was very sensitive to slight pain of this kind, she was not 
conscious of it now, for she felt almost simultaneously the 
smooth surface of the cardboard box. She seized it and 

She had scarcely recovered from the fear of being surprised 
by her husband than the horror with which this box inspired 
her came within an ace of positively making her feel ill. 


"So Julien is in love, and I hold here the portrait of the 
woman whom he loves ! " 

Seated on the chair in the ante-chamber of his apartment, 
Madame de Renal fell a prey to all the horrors of jealousy. 
Her extreme ignorance, moreover, was useful to her at this 
juncture ; her astonishment mitigated her grief. Julien seized 
the box without thanking her or saying a single word, and ran 
into his room, where he lit a fire and immediately burnt it. 
He was pale and in a state of collapse. He exaggerated the 
extent of the danger which he had undergone. 

" Finding Napoleon's portrait," he said to himself, " in the 
possession of a man who professes so great a hate for the 
usurper ! Found, too, by M. de Renal, who is so great an 
ultra, and is now in a state of irritation, and, to complete my 
imprudence, lines written in my own handwriting on the 
white cardboard behind the portrait, lines, too, which can 
leave no doubt on the score of my excessive admiration. And 
each of these transports of love is dated. There was one the 
day before yesterday." 

" All my reputation collapsed and shattered in a moment," 
said Julien to himself as he watched the box burn, "and my 
reputation is my only asset. It is all I have to live by and 
what a life to, by heaven ! " 

An hour afterwards, this fatigue, togother with the pity 
which he felt for himself made him inclined to be more 
tender. He met Madame de Renal and took her hand, 
which he kissed with more sincerity than he had ever done 
before. She blushed with happiness and almost simultaneously 
rebuffed Julien with all the anger of jealousy. Julien's pride 
which had been so recently wounded made him act foolishly 
at this juncture. He saw in Madame de Renal nothing but 
a rich woman, he disdainfully let her hand fall and went away. 
He went and walked about meditatively in the garden. Soon 
a bitter smile appeared on his lips. 

" Here I am walking about as serenely as a man who is 
master of his own time. I am not bothering about the 
children ! I am exposing myself to M. de Renal's humiliating 
remarks, and he will be quite right." He ran to the children's 
room. The caresses of the youngest child, whom he loved 
very much, somewhat calmed his agony. 

" He does not despise me yet," thought Julien. But he soon 


reproached himself for this alleviation of his agony as though 
it were a new weakness. The children caress me just in the 
same way in which they would caress the young hunting- 
hound which was bought yesterday. 



But passion most disembles, yet betrays, 
Even by its darkness, as the blackest sky 
Foretells the heaviest tempest. 

Don Juan, c. 4, st. 75. 

M. de Renal was going through all the rooms in the chteau, 
and he came back into the children's room with the servants 
who were bringing back the stuffings of the mattresses. The 
sudden entry of this man had the effect on Julien of the drop 
of water which makes the pot overflow. 

Looking paler and more sinister than usual, he rushed 
towards him. M. de Renal stopped and looked at his 

" Monsieur," said Julien to him, " Do you think your 
children would have made the progress they have made with 
me with any other tutor? If you answer 'No,'" continued 
Julien so quickly that M. de Renal did not have time to 
speak, " how dare you reproach me with neglecting them ? " 

M. de Renal, who had scarcely recovered from his fright, 
concluded from the strange tone he saw this little peasant 
assume, that he had some advantageous offer in his pocket, 
and that he was going to leave him. 

The more he spoke the more Julien's anger increased, " I 
can live without you, Monsieur," he added. 

" I am really sorry to see you so upset," answered M. de 
Renal shuddering a little. The servants were ten yards off 
engaged in making the beds. 

"That is not what I mean, Monsieur," replied Julien 
quite beside himself. " Think of the infamous words that you 
have addressed to me, and before women too." 


M. de Renal understood only too well what Julien was 
asking, and a painful conflict tore his soul. It happened 
that Julien, who was really mad with rage, cried out, 

" I know where to go, Monsieur, when I leave your house." 

At these words M. de Renal saw Julien installed with 
M. Valenod. " Well, sir," he said at last with a sigh, just as 
though he had called in a surgeon to perform the most 
painful operation, " I accede to your request. I will give you 
fifty francs a month. Starting from the day after to-morrow 
which is the first of the month." 

Julien wanted to laugh, and stood there dumbfounded. All 
his anger had vanished. 

" I do not despise the brute enough," he said to himself. 
" I have no doubt that that is the greatest apology that so 
base a soul can make." 

" The children who has listened to this scene with gaping 
mouths, ran into the garden to tell their mother that M. 
Julien was very angry, but that he was going to have fifty 
francs a month." 

Julien followed them as a matter of habit without even 
looking at M. de Renal whom he left in a considerable state 
of irritation. 

" That makes one hundred and sixty-eight francs," said the 
mayor to himself, "that M. Valenod has cost me. I must 
absolutely speak a few strong words to him about his contract 
to provide for the foundlings." 

A minute afterwards Julien found himself opposite M. de 

" I want to speak to M. Chelan on a matter of conscience. 
I have the honour to inform you that I shall be absent some 

" Why, my dear Julien," said M. de Renal smiling with the 
falsest expression possible, " take the whole day, and to-morrow 
too if you like, my good friend. Take the gardener's horse to 
go to Verrieres." 

" He is on the very point," said M. de Renal to himself, 
"of giving an answer to Valenod. He has promised me 
tothing, but I must let this hot-headed young man have time 
ocool down." 

Julien quickly went away, and went up into the great forest, 
through which one can manage to get from Vergy to Verrieres. 


He did not wish to arrive at M. Chelan's at once. Far from 
wishing to cramp himself in a new pose of hypocrisy he 
needed to see clear in his own soul, and to give audience to 
the crowd of sentiments which were agitating him. 

" I have won a battle," he said to himself, as soon as he 
saw that he was well in the forest, and far from all human 
gaze. " So I have won a battle." 

This expression shed a rosy light on his situation, and 
restored him to some serenity. 

" Here I am with a salary of fifty francs a month, M. de 
Renal must be precious afraid, but what of ? " 

This meditation about what could have put fear into the 
heart of that happy, powerful man against whom he had been 
boiling with rage only an hour back, completed the restoration 
to serenity of Julien's soul. He was almost able to enjoy for 
a moment the delightful beauty of the woods amidst which he 
was walking. Enormous blocks of bare rocks had fallen 
down long ago in the middle of the forest by the mountain 
side. Great cedars towered almost as high as these rocks 
whose shade caused a delicious freshness within three yards 
of places where the heat of the sun's rays would have made it 
impossible to rest. 

Julien took breath for a moment in the shade of these 
great rocks, and then he began again to climb. Traversing a 
narrow path that was scarcely marked, and was only used by 
the goat herds, he soon found himself standing upon an 
immense rock with the complete certainty of being far away 
from all mankind. This physical position made him smile. 
It symbolised to him the position he was burning to attain in 
the moral sphere. The pure air of these lovely mountains 
filled his soul with serenity and even with joy. The mayor of 
Verrieres still continued to typify in his eyes all the wealth 
and all the arrogance of the earth; but Julien felt that the 
hatred that had just thrilled him had nothing personal about 
it in spite of all the violence which he had manifested. If he 
had left off seeing M. de Renal he would in eight days have 
forgotten him, his castle, his dogs, his children and all his 
family. " I forced him, I don't know how, to make the 
greatest sacrifice. What ? more than fifty crowns a year, and 
only a minute before I managed to extricate myself from the 
greatest danger ; so there are two victories in one day. The 



second one is devoid of merit, I must find out the why and 
the wherefore. But these laborious researches are for 
to morrow." 

Standing up on his great rock, Julien looked at the sky 
which was all afire with an August sun. The grasshoppers 
sang in the field about the rock ; when they held their peace 
there was universal silence around him. He saw twenty 
leagues of country at his feet. He noticed from time to time 
some hawk, which launching off from the great rocks over his 
head was describing in silence its immense circles. Julien's 
eye followed the bird of prey mechanically. Its tranquil 
powerful movements struck him. He envied that strength, 
that isolation. 

" Would Napoleon's destiny be one day his ? " 



Yet Julia's very coldness still was kind, 
And tremulously gently her small hand 
Withdrew itself from his, but left behind 
A little pressure, thrilling, and so bland, 
And slight, so very slight that to the mind, 
'Twas but a doubt. 

Don Juan, c. I. st, 71. 

It was necessary, however, to put in an appearance at 
Verrieres. As Juiien left the cure house he was fortunate 
enough to meet M. Valenod, whom he hastened to tell of the 
increase in his salary. 

On returning to Vergy, Juiien waited till night had fallen 
before going down into the garden. His soul was fatigued by 
the great number of violent emotions which had agitated him 
during the day. " What shall I say to them ? " he reflected 
anxiously, as he thought about the ladies. He was far from 
realising that his soul was just in a mood to discuss those 
trivial circumstances which usually monopolise all feminine 
interests. Juiien was often unintelligible to Madame Derville, 
and even to her friend, and he in his turn only half understood 
all that they said to him. Such was the effect of the force 
and, if I may venture to use such language, the greatness of 
the transports of passion which overwhelmed the soul of this 
ambitious youth. In this singular being it was storm nearly 
every day. 

As he entered the garden this evening, Juiien was inclined 
to take an interest in what the pretty cousins were thinking. 
They were waiting for him impatiently. He took his ac- 
customed seat next to Madame de Renal. The darkness soon 
became profound. He attempted to take hold of a white 


hand which he had seen some time near him, as it leant on 
the back of a chair. Some hesitation was shewn, but 
eventually the hand was withdrawn in a manner which 
indicated displeasure. Julien was inclined to give up the 
attempt as a bad job, and to continue his conversation quite 
gaily, when he heard M. de Renal approaching. 

The coarse words he had uttered in the morning were still 
ringing in Julien's ears. " Would not taking possession of his 
wife's hand in his very presence," he said to himself, " be a 
good way of scoring off that creature who has all that life can 
give him. Yes ! I will do it. I, the very man for whom he 
has evidenced so great a contempt." 

From that moment the tranquillity which was so alien to 
Julien's real character quickly disappeared. He was obsessed 
by an anxious desire that Madame de Renal should abandon 
her hand to him. 

M. de Renal was talking politics with vehemence ; two or 
three commercial men in Verrieres had been growing distinctly 
richer than he was, and were going to annoy him over the 
elections. Madame Derville was listening to him. Irritated 
by these tirades, Julien brought his chair nearer Madame de 
Renal. All his movements were concealed by the darkness. 
He dared to put his hand very near to the pretty arm which 
was left uncovered by the dress. He was troubled and had 
lost control of his mind. He brought his face near to that 
pretty arm and dared to put his lips on it. 

Madame de Renal shuddered. Her husband was four paces 
away. She hastened to give her hand to Julien, and at the 
same time to push him back a little. As M. de Renal was 
continuing his insults against those ne'er-do-wells and 
Jacobins who were growing so rich, Julien covered the hand 
which had been abandoned to him with kisses, which were 
either really passionate or at any rate seemed so to Madame 
de Renal. But the poor woman had already had the proofs 
on that same fatal day that the man whom she adored, without 
owning it to herself, loved another ! During the whole time 
Julien had been absent she had been the prey to an extreme 
unhappiness which had made her reflect. 

" What," she said to herself, " Am I going to love, am I 
going to be in love ? Am I, a married woman, going to fall 
in love ? But," she said to herself, " I have never felt for my 


husband this dark madness, which never permits of my 
keeping Julien out of my thoughts. After all, he is only a 
child who is full of respect for me. This madness will be 
fleeting. In what way do the sentiments which I may have 
for this young man concern my husband? M. de Renal 
would be bored by the conversations which I have with Julien 
on imaginative subjects. As for him, he simply thinks of his 
business. I am not taking anything away from him to give 
to Julien." 

No hypocrisy had sullied the purity of that naive soul, now 
swept away by a passion such as it had never felt before. She 
deceived herself, but without knowing it. But none the less, a 
certain instinct of virtue was alarmed. Such were the combats 
which were agitating her when Julien appeared in the garden. 
She heard him speak and almost at the same moment she saw 
him sit down by her side. Her soul was as it were transported 
by this charming happiness which had for the last fortnight 
surprised her even more than it had allured. Everything was 
novel for her. None the less, she said to herself after some 
moments, "the mere presence of Julien is quite enough to 
blot out all his wrongs." She was frightened; it was then 
that she took away her hand. 

His passionate kisses, the like of which she had never 
received before, made her forget that perhaps he loved another 
woman. Soon he was no longer guilty in her eyes. The 
cessation of that poignant pain which suspicion had engendered 
and the presence of a happiness that she had never even 
dreamt of, gave her ecstasies of love and of mad gaiety. The 
evening was charming for everyone, except the mayor of 
Verrieres, who was unable to forget his parvenu manufacturers. 
Julien left off thinking about his black ambition, or about 
those plans of his which were so difficult to accomplish. For 
the first time in his life he was led away by the power of beauty. 
Lost in a sweetly vague reverie, quite alien to his character, 
and softly pressing that hand, which he thought ideally pretty, 
he half listened to the rustle of the leaves of the pine trees, 
swept by the light night breeze, and to the dogs of the mill 
on the Doubs, who barked in the distance. 

But this emotion was one of pleasure and not passion. As 
he entered his room, he only thought of one happiness, that 
of taking up again his favourite book. When one is twenty 


the idea of the world and the figure to be cut in it dominate 

He soon, however, laid down the book. As the result of 
thinking of the victories of Napoleon, he had seen a new 
element in his own victory. " Yes," he said to himself, " I 
have won a battle. I must exploit it. I must crush the pride 
of that proud gentleman while he is in retreat. That would 
be real Napoleon. I must ask him for three days' holiday to 
go and see my friend Fouque If he refuses me I will threaten 
to give him notice, but he will yield the point. 

Madame de Renal could not sleep a wink. It seemed as 
though, until this moment, she had never lived. She was 
unable to distract her thoughts from the happiness of feeling 
Julian cover her hand with his burning kisses. 

Suddenly the awful word adultery came into her mind. All 
the loathesomeness with which the vilest debauchery can 
invest sensual love presented itself to her imagination. These 
ideas essayed to pollute the divinely tender image which she 
was fashioning of Julien, and of the happiness of loving him. 
The future began to be painted in terrible colours. She began 
to regard herself as contemptible. 

That moment was awful. Her soul was arriving in unknown 
countries. During the evening she had tasted a novel 
happiness. Now she found herself suddenly plunged in an 
atrocious unhappiness. She had never had any idea of such 
sufferings; they troubled her reason. She thought for a 
moment of confessing to her husband that she was appre- 
hensive of loving Julien. It would be an opportunity 
of speaking of him. Fortunately her memory threw up 
a maxim which her aunt had once given her on the 
eve of her marriage. The maxim dealt with the danger of 
making confidences to a husband, for a husband is after all 
a master. She wrung her hands in the excess of her grief. 
She was driven this way and that by clashing and painful 
ideas. At one moment she feared that she was not loved. 
The next the awful idea of crime tortured her, as much as if 
she had to be exposed in the pillory on the following day in 
the public square of Verrieres, with a placard to explain her 
adultery to the populace. 

Madame de Renal had no experience of life. Even in the 
full possession of her faculties, and when fully exercising her 


reason, she would never have appreciated any distinction 
between being guilty in the eyes of God, and finding herself 
publicly overwhelmed with the crudest marks of universal 

When the awful idea of adultery, and of all the disgrace 
which in her view that crime brought in its train, left her 
some rest, she began to dream of the sweetness of living 
innocently with Julien as in the days that had gone by. 

She found herself confronted with the horrible idea that 
Julien loved another woman. She still saw his pallor when he 
had feared to lose her portrait, or to compromise her by 
exposing it to view. For the first time she had caught fear on 
that tranquil and noble visage. He had never shewn such 
emotion to her or her children. This additional anguish 
reached the maximum of unhappiness which the human soul 
is capable of enduring. Unconsciously, Madame de Renal 
uttered cries which woke up her maid. Suddenly she saw the 
brightness of a light appear near her bed, and recognized 
Elisa. " Is it you he loves ? " she exclaimed in her delirium. 

Fortunately, the maid was so astonished by the terrible 
trouble in which she found her mistress that she paid no 
attention to this singular expression. Madame de Renal 
appreciated her imprudence. ' ' I have the fever," she said to 
her, " and I think I am a little delirious." Completely 
woken up by the necessity of controlling herself, she be- 
came less unhappy. Reason, regained that supreme control 
which the semi-somnolent state had taken away. To free 
herself from her maid's continual stare, she ordered her maid 
to read the paper, and it was as she listened to the monoton- 
ous voice of this girl, reading a long article from the 
Quotidienne that Madame de Renal made the virtuous 
resolution to treat Tulien with absolute coldness when she 
saw him again 



Elegant people are to be found in Paris. People of character 
may exist in the provinces. SiZyes 

At five o'clock the following day, before Madame de Renal 
was visible, Julien obtained a three days' holiday from her 
husband. Contrary to his expectation Julien found himself 
desirous of seeing her again. He kept thinking of that pretty 
hand of hers. He went down into the garden, but Madame 
de Renal kept him waiting for a long time. But if Julien 
had loved her, he would have seen her forehead glued to the 
pane behind the half-closed blinds on the first floor. She was 
looking at him. Finally, in spite of her resolutions, she 
decided to go into the garden. Her habitual pallor had 
been succeeded by more lively hues. This woman, simple as 
she was, was manifestly agitated ; a sentiment of constraint, 
and even of anger, altered that expression of profound 
serenity which seemed, as it were, to be above all the vulgar 
interests of life and gave so much charm to that divine 

Julien approached her with eagerness, admiring those 
beautiful arms which were just visible through a hastily 
donned shawl. The freshness of the morning air seemed to 
accentuate still more the brilliance of her complexion which 
the agitation of the past night rendered all the more sus- 
ceptible to all impressions. This demure and pathetic beauty, 
which was, at the same time, full of thoughts which are never 
found in the inferior classes, seemed to reveal to Julien a 
faculty in his own soul which he had never before realised. 
Engrossed in his admiration of the charms on which his 
his greedy gaze was riveted, Julien took for granted the friendly 


welcome which he was expecting to receive. He was all the 
more astonished at the icy coldness which she endeavoured to 
manifest to him, and through which he thought he could even 
distinguish the intention of putting him in his place. 

The smile of pleasure died away from his lips as he 
remembered his rank in society, especially from the point of 
view of a rich and noble heiress. In a single moment his 
face exhibited nothing but haughtiness and anger against 
himself. He felt violently disgusted that he could have put 
off his departure for more than an hour, simply to receive so 
hum ilia tig a welcome. 

" It is only a fool," he said to himself, " who is angry with 
others ; a stone falls because it is heavy. Am I going to be 
a child all my life ? How on earth is it that I manage to con- 
tract the charming habit of showing my real self to those people 
simply in return for their money ? If I want to win their 
respect and that of my own self, I must shew them that it is 
simply a business transaction between my poverty and their 
wealth, but that my heart is a thousand leagues away from 
their insolence, and is situated in too high a sphere to be 
affected by their petty marks of favour or disdain." 

While these feelings were crowding the soul of the young 
tutor, his mobile features assumed an expression of ferocity 
and injured pride. Madame de Renal was extremely 
troubled. The virtuous coldness that she had meant to put 
into her welcome was succeeded by an expression of interest 
an interest animated by all the surprise brought about by 
the sudden change which she had just seen. The empty 
morning platitudes about their health and the fineness of the 
day suddenly dried up. Julien's judgment was disturbed by 
no passion, and he soon found a means of manifesting to 
Madame de Renal how light was the friendly relationship that 
he considered existed between them. He said nothing to her 
about the little journey that he was going to make ; saluted 
her, and went away. 

As she watched him go, she was overwhelmed by the 
sombre haughtiness which she read in that look which had 
been so gracious the previous evening. Her eldest son ran 
up from the bottom of the garden, and said as he kissed her, 

" We have a holiday, M. Julien is going on a journey." 

At these words, Madame de Renal felt seized by a deadly 


coldness. She was unhappy by reason of her virtue, and even 
more unhappy by reason of her weakness. 

This new event engrossed her imagination, and she was 
transported far beyond the good resolutions which she owed 
to the awful night she had just passed. It was not now a 
question of resisting that charming lover, but of losing him 
for ever. 

It was necessary to appear at breakfast. To complete her 
anguish, M. de Renal and Madame Derville talked of nothing 
but Julien's departure. The mayor of Verrieres had noticed 
something unusual in the firm tone in which he had asked for 
a holiday. 

" That little peasant has no doubt got somebody else's offer 
up his sleeve, but that somebody else, even though it's M. 
Valenod, is bound to be a little discouraged by the sum of 
six hundred francs, which the annual salary now tots up 
to. He must have asked yesterday at Verrieres for a 
period of three days to think it over, and our little gentleman 
runs off to the mountains this morning so as not to be 
obliged to give me an answer. Think of having to reckon 
with a wretched workman who puts on airs, but that's what 
we've come to." 

" If my husband, who does not know how deeply he has 
wounded Julien, thinks that he will leave us, what can I think 
myself?" said Madame de Renal to herself. " Yes, that is all 
decided." In order to be able at any rate to be free to cry, 
and to avoid answering madame Derville's questions, she 
pleaded an awful headache, and went to bed. 

" That's what women are," repeated M. de Renal, " there 
is always something out of order in those complicated 
machines," and he went off jeering. 

While Madame de Renal was a prey to all the poignancy of 
the terrible passion in which chance had involved her, Julien 
went merrily on his way, surrounded by the most beautiful 
views that mountain scenery can offer. He had to cross the 
great chain north of Vergy. The path which he followed 
rose gradually among the big beech woods, and ran into 
infinite spirals on the slope of the high mountain which forms 
the northern boundary of the Doubs valley. Soon the 
traveller's view, as he passed over the lower slopes bounding 
the course of the Doubs towards the south, extends as far as 


the fertile plains of Burgundy and Beaujolais. However 
insensible was the soul of this ambitious youth to this kind of 
beauty, he could not help stopping from time to time to look 
at a spectacle at once so vast and so impressive. 

Finally, he reached the summit of the great mountain, near 
which he had to pass in order to arrive by this cross-country 
route at the solitary valley where lived his friend Fouque, the 
young wood merchant. Julien was in no hurry to see him ; 
either him, or any other human being. Hidden like a bird of 
prey amid the bare rocks which crowned the great mountain, 
he could see a long way off anyone coming near him. He 
discovered a little grotto in the middle of the almost vertical 
slope of one of the rocks. He found a way to it, and was 
soon ensconced in this retreat. " Here," he said, " with 
eyes brilliant with joy, men cannot hurt me." It occurred to 
him to indulge in the pleasure of writing down those thoughts 
of his which were so dangerous to him everywhere else. A 
square stone served him for a desk ; his pen flew. He saw 
nothing of what was around him. He noticed at last that the 
sun was setting behind the distant mountains of Beaujolais. 

" Why shouldn't I pass the night here ? " he said to himself. 
" I have bread, and I am free." He felt a spiritual exultation 
at the sound of that great word. The necessity of playing the 
hypocrite resulted in his not being free, even at Fouque's. 
Leaning his head on his two hands, Julien stayed in the grotto, 
more happy than he had ever been in his life, thrilled by his 
dreams, and by the bliss of his freedom. Without realising it, 
he saw all the rays of the twilight become successively ex- 
tinguished. Surrounded by this immense obscurity, his soul 
wandered into the contemplation of what he imagined that he 
would one day meet in Paris. First it was a woman, much more 
beautiful and possessed of a much more refined temperament 
than anything he could have found in the provinces. He 
loved with passion, and was loved. If he separated from her 
for some instants, it was only to cover himself with glory, and 
to deserve to be loved still more. 

A young man brought up in the environment of the sad 
truths of Paris society, would, on reaching this point in his 
romance, even if we assume him possessed of Julien's imagina- 
tion, have been brought back to himself by the cold irony of 
the situation. Great deeds would have disappeared from ou 


his ken together with hope of achieving them and have been 
succeeded by the platitude. " If one leave one's mistress one 
runs alas ! the risk of being deceived two or three times a day." 
But the young peasant saw nothing but the lack of opportunity 
between himself and the most heroic feats. 

But a deep night had succeeded the day, and there were 
still two leagues to walk before he could descend to the cabin 
in which Fouque lived. Before leaving the little cave, Julien 
made a light and carefully burnt all that he had written. He 
quite astonished his friend when he knocked at his door at 
one o'clock in the morning. He found Fouque engaged in 
making up his accounts. He was a young man of high 
stature, rather badly made, with big, hard features, a never- 
ending nose, and a large fund of good nature concealed 
beneath this repulsive appearance. 

" Have you quarelled with M. de Renal then that you turn 
up unexpectedly like this ? " Julien told him, but in a suitable 
way, the events of the previous day. 

" Stay with me," said Fouque to him. " I see that you know 
M. de Renal, M. Valenod, the sub-prefect Maugron, the cure 
Chelan. You have understood the subtleties of the character 
of those people. So there you are then, quite qualified to 
attend auctions. You know arithmetic better than I do ; you 
will keep my accounts ; I make a lot in my business. The 
impossibility of doing everything myself, and the fear of taking 
a rascal for my partner prevents me daily from undertaking 
excellent business. It's scarcely a month since I put Michaud 
de Saint-Amand, whom I haven't seen for six years, and whom 
I ran across at the sale at Pontarlier in the way of making six 
thousand francs. Why shouldn't it have been you who made 
those six thousand francs, or at any rate three thousand. 
For if I had had you with me that day, I would have raised 
the bidding for that lot of timber and everybody else would 
soon have run away. Be my partner. 

This offer upset Julien. It spoilt the train of his mad 
dreams. Fouque showed his accounts to Julien during the 
whole of the supper which the two friends prepared themselves 
like the Homeric heroes (for Fouque lived alone) and proved 
to him all the advantages offered by his timber business. 
Fouque had the highest opinion of the gifts and character of 


When, finally, the latter was alone in his little room of 
pinewood, he said to himself : " It is true I can make some 
thousands of francs here and then take up with advantage the 
profession of a soldier, or of a priest, according to the fashion 
then prevalent in France. The little hoard that I shall 
have amassed will remove all petty difficulties. In the solitude 
of this mountain I shall have dissipated to some extent my 
awful ignorance of so many of the things which make up the 
life of all those men of fashion. But Fouque has given up all 
thoughts of marriage, a<nd at the same time keeps telling me 
that solitude makes him unhappy. It is clear that if he takes 
a partner who has no capital to put into his business, he does 
so in the hopes of getting a companion who will never leave 

"Shall I deceive my friend," exclaimed Julien petulantly. 
This being who found hypocrisy and complete callousness 
his ordinary means of self-preservation could not, on this 
occasion, endure the idea of the slightest lack of delicate 
feeling towards a man whom he loved. 

But suddenly Julien was happy. He had a reason for a 
refusal. What ! Shall I be coward enough to waste seven or 
eight years. I shall get to twenty-eight in that way ! But at 
that age Bonaparte had achieved his greatest feats. When 
I shall have made in obscurity a little money by frequenting 
timber sales, and earning the good graces of some rascally 
under-strappers who will guarantee that I shall still have the 
sacred fire with which one makes a name for oneself? 

The following morning, Julien with considerable sangfroid, 
said in answer to the good Fouque, who regarded the matter 
of the partnership as settled, that his vocation for the holy 
ministry of the altars would not permit him to accept it. 
Fouque did not return to the subject. 

" But just think," he repeated to him, " I'll make you my 
partner, or if you prefer it, I'll give you four thousand francs 
a year, and you want to return to that M. de Renal of yours, 
who despises you like the mud on his shoes. When you have 
got two hundred louis in front of you, what is to prevent you 
from entering the seminary ? I'll go further : I will undertake 
to procure for you the best living in the district, for," added 

Fouque, lowering his voice, I supply firewood to M. le 

M. le M . I provide them with first quality oak, 


but they only pay me for plain wood, but never was money 
better invested. 

Nothing could conquer Julien's vocation. Fouque finished 
by thinking him a little mad. The third day, in the early 
morning, Julien left his friend, and passed the day amongst 
the rocks of the great mountain. He found his little cave 
again, but he had no longer peace of mind. His friend's 
offers had robbed him of it. He found himself, not between 
^ice and virtue, like Hercules, but between mediocrity coupled 
with an assured prosperity, and all the heroic dreams of his 
youth. " So I have not got real determination after all," he 
said to himself, and it was his doubt on this score which 
pained him the most. " I am not of the stuff of which great 
men are made, because I fear that eight years spent in earning 
a livelihood will deprive me of that sublime energy which 
inspires the accomplishment of extraordinary feats." 



A novel : a mirror which one takes out on one's walk 
along the high road. Saint-Real. 

When Julien perceived the picturesque ruins of the old church 
at Vergy, he noticed that he had not given a single thought to 
Madame de Renal since the day before yesterday. "The 
other day, when I took my leave, that woman made me realise 
the infinite distance which separated us ; she treated me like 
a labourer's son. No doubt she wished to signify her repentance 
for having allowed me to hold her hand the evening before. 
. . It is, however very pretty, is that hand. What a 
charm, what a nobility is there in that woman's expression ! 

The possibility of making a fortune with Fouque gave a 
certain facility to Julien's logic. It was not spoilt quite so 
frequently by the irritation and the keen consciousness of his 
poverty and low estate in the eyes of the world. Placed as it 
were on a high promontory, he was able to exercise his 
judgment, and had a commanding view, so to speak, of both 
extreme poverty and that competence which he still called 
wealth. He was far from judging his position really philo- 
sophically, but he had enough penetration to feel different 
after this little journey into the mountain. 

He was struck with the extreme uneasiness with which 
Madame de Renal listened to the brief account which she had 
asked for of his journey. Fouque had had plans of marriage, 
and unhappy love affairs, and long confidences on this subject 
had formed the staple of the two friends' conversation. Having 
found happiness too soon, Fouque had realised that he was 
not the only one who was loved. All these accounts had 
astonished Julien. He had learnt many new things. His 


solitary life of imagination and suspicion had kept him remote 
from anything which could enlighten him. 

During his absence, life had been nothing for Madame de 
Rnal but a series of tortures, which, though different, were all 
unbearable. She was really ill. 

" Now mind," said Madame Derville to her when she saw 
Julien arrive, " you don't go into the garden this evening in 
your weak state ; the damp air will make your complaint twice 
as bad." 

Madame Derville was surprised to see that her friend, who 
was always scolded by M. de Renal by reason of the excessive 
simplicity of her dress, had just got some openwork stockings 
and some charming little shoes which had come from Paris. 
For three days Madame de Renal's only distraction had been 
to cut out a summer dress of a pretty little material which 
was very fashionable, and get it made with express speed by 
Elisa. This dress could scarcely have been finished a few 
moments before Julien's arrival, but Madame de Renal put 
it on immediately. Her friend had no longer any doubt. 
" She loves," unhappy woman, said Madame Derville to her- 
self. She understood all the strange symptoms of the 

She saw her speak to Julien. The most violent blush was 
succeeded by pallor. Anxiety was depicted in her eyes, 
which were riveted on those of the young tutor. Madame de 
Renal expected every minute that he would give an explana- 
tion of his conduct, and announce that he was either going 
to leave the house or stay there. Julien carefully avoided 
that subject, and did not even think of it. After terrible 
struggles, Madame de Renal eventually dared to say to him 
in a trembling voice that mirrored all her passion : 

" Are you going to leave your pupils to take another 

Julien was struck by Madame de Renal's hesitating voice 
and look. "That woman loves me," he said to himself! 
" But after this temporary moment of weakness, for which 
her pride is no doubt reproaching her, and as soon as she 
has ceased fearing that I shall leave, she will be as haughty 
as ever." This view of their mutual position passed through 
Julien's mind as rapidly as a flash of lightning. He answered 
with some hesitation, 


" I shall be extremely distressed to leave children who are 
so nice and so well-born, but perhaps it will be necessary. 
One has duties to oneself as well." 

As he pronounced the expression, " well-born " (it was one 
of those aristocratic phrases which Julien had recently learnt), 
he became animated by a profound feeling of antipathy. 

" I am not well-born," he said to himself, " in that woman's 

As Madame de Renal listened to him, she admired his 
genius and his beauty, and the hinted possibility of his 
departure pierced her heart. All her friends at Verrieres 
who had come to dine at Vergy during Julien's absence had 
complimented her almost jealously on the astonishing man 
whom her husband had had the good fortune to unearth. It 
was not that they understood anything about the progress of 
children. The feat of knowing his Bible by heart, and what 
is more, of knowing it in Latin, had struck the inhabitants of 
Verrieres with an admiration which will last perhaps a 

Julien, who never spoke to anyone, was ignorant of all this. 
If Madame de Renal had possessed the slightest presence 
of mind, she would have complimented him on the reputation 
which he had won, and Julien's pride, once satisfied, he 
would have been sweet and amiable towards her, especially as 
he thought her new dress charming. Madame de Renal 
was also pleased with her pretty dress, and with what Julien 
had said to her about it, and wanted to walk round the garden. 
But she soon confessed that she was incapable of walking. 
She had taken the traveller's arm, and the contact of that 
arm, far from increasing her strength, deprived her of it 

It was night, They had scarcely sat down before Julien, 
availing himself of his old privilege, dared to bring his lips 
near his pretty neighbour's arm, and to take her hand. He 
kept thinking of the boldness which Fouque had exhibited 
with his mistresses and not of Madame de Renal ; the word 
" well-born " was still heavy on his heart. He felt his 
hand pressed, but experienced no pleasure. So far from his 
being proud, or even grateful for the sentiment that Madame 
de Renal was betraying that evening by only too evident signs, 
he was almost insensible to her beauty, her elegance, and her 



freshness. Purity of soul, and the abseuce of all hateful 
emotion, doubtless prolong the duration of youth. It is 
the face which ages first with the majority of women. 

Julien sulked all the evening. Up to the present he had 
only been angry with the social order, but from that time 
that Fouque had offered him an ignoble means of obtaining 
a competency, he was irritated with himself. Julien was so 
engrossed in his thoughts, that, although from time to time 
he said a few words to the ladies, he eventually let go Madame 
de RenaPs hand without noticing it. This action over- 
whelmed the soul of the poor woman. She saw in it her 
whole fate. 

If she had been certain of Julien's affection, her virtue 
would possibly have found strength to resist him. But 
trembling lest she should lose him for ever, she was distracted 
by her passion to the point of taking again Julien's hand, 
which he had left in his absent-mindedness leaning on the 
back of the chair. This action woke up this ambitious youth ; 
he would have liked to have had for witnesses all those proud 
nobles who had regarded him at meals, when he was at the 
bottom of the table with the children, with so condescending 
a smile. "That woman cannot despise me; in that case," 
he said to himself. " I ought to shew my appreciation of 
her beauty. I owe it to myself to be her lover." That idea 
would not have occurred to him before the naive confidences 
which his friend had made. 

The sudden resolution which he had just made formed an 
agreeable distraction. He kept saying to himself, " I must 
have one of those two women ; he realised that he would have 
very much preferred to have paid court to Madame Derville. 
It was not that she was more agreeable, but that she had 
always seen him as the tutor distinguished by his knowledge, 
and not as the journeyman carpenter with his cloth jacket 
folded under his arm as he had first appeared to Madame de 

It was precisely as a young workman, blushing up to the 
whites of his eyes, standing by the door of the house and 
not daring to ring, that he made the most alluring appeal to 
Madame de Renal's imagination. 

As he went on reviewing his position, Julien saw that the 
conquest of Madame Derville, who had probably noticed the 


taste which Madame de Renal was manifesting for him, was 
out of the question. He was thus brought back to the latter 
lady. " What do I know of the character of that woman ? " 
said Julien to himself. " Only this : before my journey, I used 
to take her hand, and she used to take it away. To-day, I 
take my hand away, and she seizes and presses it. A fine 
opportunity to pay her back all the contempt she had had for 
me. God knows how many lovers she has had, probably she 
is only deciding in my favour by reason of the easiness of 

Such, alas, is the misfortune of an excessive civilisation. 
The soul of a young man of twenty, possessed of any 
education, is a thousand leagues away from that abandon 
without which love is frequently but the most tedious of 

" I owe it all the more to myself," went on the petty vanity 
of Julien, " to succeed with that woman, by reason of the 
fact that if I ever make a fortune, and I am reproached by 
anyone with my menial position as a tutor, I shall then be 
able to give out that it was love which got me the post." 

Julien again took his hand away from Madame de Renal, 
and then took her hand again and pressed it. As they went 
back to the drawing-room about midnight, Madame de Renal 
said to him in a whisper. 

"You are leaving us, you are going?" 

Julien answered with a sigh. 

" I absolutely must leave, for I love you passionately. 
It is wrong . . . how wrong indeed for a young priest ? " 
Madame de Renal leant upon his arm, and with so much 
abandon that her cheek felt the warmth of Julien's. 

The nights of these two persons were quite different. 
Madame de Renal was exalted by the ecstacies of the highest 
moral pleasure. A coquettish young girl, who loves early in 
life, gets habituated to the trouble of love, and when she 
reaches the age of real passion, finds the charm of novelty 
lacking. As Madame de Renal had never read any novels, 
all the refinements of her happiness were new to her. No 
mournful truth came to chill her, not even the spectre of the 
future. She imagined herself as happy in ten years' time as 
she was at the present moment. Even the idea of virtue and 
of her sworn fidelity to M. de Renal, which had agitated 


her some days past, now presented itself in vain, and was 
sent about its business like an importunate visitor. " I will 
never grant anything to Julien," said Madame de Renal; 
" we will live in the future like we have been living for the 
last month. He shall be a friend." 



A young girl of sixteen had a pink complexion, and 
yet used red rouge. Polidori. 

Fouque's offer had, as a matter of fact, taken away all Julien's 
happiness ; he could not make up his mind to any definite 
course. " Alas ! perhaps I am lacking in character. I should 
have been a bad soldier of Napoleon. At least," he added, 
" my little intrigue with the mistress of the house will distract 
me a little." 

Happily for him, even in this little subordinate incident, 
his inner emotions quite failed to correspond with his flippant 
words. He was frightened of Madame de Renal because of 
her pretty dress. In his eyes, that dress was a vanguard of 
Paris. His pride refused to leave anything to chance and 
the inspiration of the moment. He made himself a very 
minute plan of campaign, moulded on the confidences of 
Fouque, and a little that he had read about love in the Bible. 
As he was very nervous, though he did not admit it to him- 
self, he wrote down this plan. 

Madame de Renal was alone with him for a moment in 
the drawing-room on the following morning. 

" Have you no other name except Julien," she said. 

Our hero was at a loss to answer so flattering a question. 
This circumstance had not been anticipated in his plan. If 
he had not been stupid enough to have made a plan, Julien's 
quick wit would have served him well, and the surprise would 
only have intensified the quickness of his perception. 

He was clumsy, and exaggerated his clumsiness, Madame 
de Renal quickly forgave him. She attributed it to a charm- 
ing frankness. And an air of frankness was the very thing 


which in her view was just lacking in this man who was 
acknowledged to have so much genius. 

" That little tutor of yours inspires me with a great deal of 
suspicion," said Madame Derville to her sometimes. " I 
think he looks as if he were always thinking, and he never 
acts without calculation. He is a sly fox." 

Julien remained profoundly humiliated by the misfortune of 
not having known what answer to make to Madame de 

" A man like I am ought to make up for this check ! " and 
seizing the moment when they were passing from one room to 
another, he thought it was his duty to give Madame de Renal 
a kiss. 

Nothing could have been less tactful, nothing less agreeable, 
and nothing more imprudent both for him and for her. They 
were within an inch of being noticed. Madame de Renal 
thought him mad. She was frightened, and above all, shocked. 
This stupidity reminded her of M. Valenod. 

" What would happen to me," she said to herself, " if I were 
alone with him ? " All her virtue returned, because her love 
was waning. 

She so arranged it that one of her children always remained 
with her. Julien found the day very tedious, and passed it 
entirely in clumsily putting into operation his plan of seduction. 
He did not look at Madame de Renal on a single occasion 
without that look having a reason, but nevertheless he was not 
sufficiently stupid to fail to see that he was not succeeding at 
all in being amiable, and was succeeding even less in being 

Madame de Renal did not recover from her astonishment 
at finding him so awkward and at the same time so bold. 
" It is the timidity of love in men of intellect," she said to 
herself with an inexpressible joy. " Could it be possible that 
he had never been loved by my rival ? " 

After breakfast Madame de Renal went back to the drawing- 
room to receive the visit of M. Charcot de Maugiron, the sub- 
prefect of Bray. She was working at a little frame of fancy-work 
some distance from the ground. Madame Derville was at her 
side; that was how she was placed when our hero thought it 
suitable to advance his boot in the full light and press the 
pretty foot of Madame de Renal, whose open-work stockings, 


and pretty Paris shoe were evidently attracting the looks of 
the gallant sub-prefect. 

Madame de Renal was very much afraid, and let fall her 
scissors, her ball of wool and her needles, so that Julien's 
movement could be passed for a clumsy effort, intended to 
prevent the fall of the scissors, which presumably he had seen 
slide. Fortunately, these little scissors of English steel were 
broken, and Madame de Renal did not spare her regrets that 
Julien had not succeeded in getting nearer to her. "You 
noticed them falling before I did you could have prevented 
it, instead, all your zealousness only succeeding in giving 
me a very big kick." All this took in the sub-perfect, but not 
Madame Derville. " That pretty boy has very silly manners," 
she thought. The social code of a provincial capital never 
forgives this kind of lapse. 

Madame de Renal found an opportunity of saying to Julien, 
" Be prudent, I order you." 

Julien appreciated his own clumsiness. He was upset. He 
deliberated with himself for a long time, in order to ascertain 
whether or not he ought to be angry at the expression " I 
order you." He was silly enough to think she might have 
said " I order you," if it were some question concerning the 
children's education, but in answering my love she puts me 
on an equality. It is impossible to love without equality . . . 
and all his mind ran riot in making common-places on equality. 
He angrily repeated to himself that verse of Corneille which 
Madame Derville had taught him some days before. 

' L'amour 
Fait les egalites, et ne les cherche pas." 

Julien who had never had a mistress in his whole life, but 
yet insisted on playing the role of a Don Juan, made a shock- 
ing fool of himself all day. He had only one sensible idea. 
Bored with himself and Madame de Renal, he viewed with 
apprehension the advance of the evening when he would have 
to sit by her side in the darkness of the garden. He told 
M. de Renal that he was going to Verrieres to see the cure. 
He left after dinner, and only came back in the night. 

At Verrieres Julien found M. Chelan occupied in moving. 
He had just been deprived of his living; the curate Maslon 


was replacing him. Julien helped the good cure, and it 
occurred to him to write to Fouque that the irresistible 
mission which he felt for the holy ministry had previously 
prevented him from accepting his kind offer, but that he had 
just seen an instance of injustice, and that perhaps it would be 
safer not to enter into Holy Orders. 

Julien congratulated himself on his subtlety in exploiting the 
dismissal of the cure of Verrieres so as to leave himself a loop- 
hole for returning to commerce in the event of a gloomy pru- 
dence routing the spirit of heroism from his mind. 



Amour en latin faict amour ; 
Or done provient d'amour la mart, 
Et, par avant, souley qui moreq, 
Deuil, plours, pieges, forfailz, remord. 

Blason D'Amour. 

If Julien had possessed a little of that adroitness on which he 
so gratuitously plumed himself, he could have congratulated 
himself the following day on the effect produced by his journey 
to Verrieres. His absence had caused his clumsiness to be 
forgotten. But on that day also he was rather sulky. He 
had a ludicrous idea in the evening, and with singular courage 
he communicated it to Madame de Renal. They had 
scarcely sat down in the garden before Julien brought his 
mouth near Madame de Renal's ear without waiting till it 
was sufficiently dark and at the risk of compromising her 
terribly, said to her, 

" Madame, to-night, at two o'clock, I shall go into your 
room, I must tell you something." 

Julien trembled lest his request should be granted. His 
rakish pose weighed him down so terribly that if he could 
have followed his own inclination he would have returned to 
his room for several days and refrained from seeing the ladies 
any more. He realised that he had spoiled by his clever 
conduct of last evening all the bright prospects of the day 
that had just passed, and was at his wits' end what to do. 

Madame de Renal answered the impertinent declaration 
which Julien had dared to make to her with indignation 
which was real and in no way exaggerated. He thought he 
could see contempt in her curt reply. The expression 


" for shame," had certainly occurred in that whispered answer. 

Julien went to the children's room under the pretext of 
having something to say to them, and on his return he placed 
himself beside Madame Derville and very far from Madame 
de Renal. He thus deprived himself of all possibility of 
taking her hand. The conversation was serious, and Julien 
acquitted himself very well, apart from a few moments of 
silence during which he was cudgelling his brains. 

" Why can't I invent some pretty manoeuvre," he said to him- 
self which will force Madame de Renal to vouchsafe to me 
those unambiguous signs of tenderness which a few days ago 
made me think that she was mine. 

Julien was extremely disconcerted by the almost desperate 
plight to which he had brought his affairs. Nothing, however, 
would have embarassed him more than success. 

When they separated at midnight, his pessimism made him 
think that he enjoyed Madame Derville's contempt, and that 
probably he stood no better with Madame de Renal. 

Feeling in a very bad temper and very humiliated, Julien 
did not sleep. He was leagues away from the idea of giving 
up all intriguing and planning, and of living from day to day 
with Madame de Renal, and of being contented like a child 
with the happiness brought by every day. 

He racked his brains inventing clever manoeuvres, which an 
instant afterwards he found absurd, and, to put it shortly, 
was very unhappy when two o'clock rang from the castle clock. 

The noise woke him up like the cock's crow woke up St. 
Peter. The most painful episode was now timed to begin 
he had not given a thought to his impertinent proposition, 
since the moment when he had made it and it had been so 
badly received. 

" I have told her that I will go to her at two o'clock," he 
said to himself as he got up, " I may be inexperienced and 
coarse, as the son of a peasant naturally would be. Madame 
Derville has given me to understand as much, but at any rate, 
I will not be weak." 

Julien had reason to congratulate himself on his courage, 
for he had never put his self-control to so painful a test. As 
he opened his door, he was trembling to such an extent that 
his knees gave way under him, and he was forced to lean 
against the wall. 


He was without shoes ; he went and listened at M. de 
Renal's door, and could hear his snoring. He was disconso- 
late, he had no longer any excuse for not going to her room. 
But, Great Heaven ! What was he to do there ? He had no 
plan, and even if he had had one, he felt himself so nervous 
that he would have been incapable of carrying it out. 

Eventually, suffering a thousand times more than if he had 
been walking to his death, he entered the little corridor that 
led to Madame de Renal's room. He opened the door with 
a trembling hand and made a frightful noise. 

There was light ; a night light was burning on the mantelpiece. 
He had not expected this new misfortune. As she saw him 
enter, Madame de Renal got quickly out of bed. " Wretch," 
she cried. There was a little confusion. Julien forgot his 
useless plans, and turned to his natural rle. To fail to please 
so charming a woman appeared to him the greatest of 
misfortunes. His only answer to her reproaches was to throw 
himself at her feet while he kissed her knees. As she was 
speaking to him with extreme harshness, he burst into 

When Julien came out of Madame de Renal's room some 
hours^afterwards, one could have said, adopting the conventional 
language of the novel, that there was nothing left to be desired. 
In fact, he owed to the love he had inspired, and to the 
unexpected impression which her alluring charms had produced 
upon him, a victory to which his own clumsy tactics would 
never have led him. 

But victim that he was of a distorted pride, he pretended 
even in the sweetest moments to play the role of a man 
accustomed to the subjugation of women : he made incredible 
but deliberate efforts to spoil his natural charm. Instead of 
watching the transports which he was bringing into existence, 
and those pangs of remorse which only set their keenness into 
fuller relief, the idea of duty was continually before his eyes. 
He feared a frightful remorse, and eternal ridicule, if he de- 
parted from the ideal model he proposed to follow. In a word, 
the very quality which made Julien into a superior being 
was precisely that which prevented him from savouring the 
happiness which was placed within his grasp. It's like the 
case of a young girl of sixteen with a charming complexion 
who is mad enough to put on rouge before going to a ball. 


Mortally terrified by the apparition of Julien, Madame de 
Renal was soon a prey to the most cruel alarm. The prayers 
and despair of Julien troubled her keenly. 

Even when there was nothing left for her to refuse him she 
pushed Julien away from her with a genuine indignation, and 
straightway threw herself into his arms. There was no plan 
apparent in all this conduct. She thought herself eternally 
damned, and tried to hide from herself the sight of hell by 
loading Julien with the wildest caresses. In a word, nothing 
would have been lacking in our hero's happiness, not even an 
ardent sensibility in the woman whom he had just captured, if 
he had only known how to enjoy it. Julien's departure did 
not in any way bring to an end those ecstacies which thrilled 
her in spite of herself, and those troubles of remorse which 
lacerated her. 

" My God ! being happy being loved, is that all it comes 
to ? " This was Julien's first thought as he entered his room. 
He was a prey to the astonishment and nervous anxiety of 
the man who has just obtained what he has long desired. 
He has been accustomed to desire, and has no longer anything 
to desire, and nevertheless has no memories. Like a soldier 
coming back from parade. Julien was absorbed in rehearsing 
the details of his conduct. " Have I failed in nothing which 
I owe to myself? Have I played my part well? " 

And what a part ! the part of a man accustomed to be 
brilliant with women. 



He turned his lips to hers and with his hand 
Called back the tangles of her wandering hair. 

Don Juan, c. i, st. 170. 

Happily for Julien's fame, Madame de Renal had been too 
agitated and too astonished to appreciate the stupidity of the 
man who had in a single moment become the whole to world 

" Oh, my God ! " she said to herself, as she pressed him 
to retire when she saw the dawn break, "if my husband has 
heard the noise, I am lost." Julien, who had had the time 
to make up some phrases, remembered this one, 

" Would you regret your life ? " 

" Oh, very much at a moment like this, but I should not 
regret having known you." 

Julien thought it incumbent on his dignity to go back to his 
room in broad daylight and with deliberate imprudence. 

The continuous attention with which he kept on studying his 
slightest actions with the absurd idea of appearing a man of 
experience had only one advantage. When he saw Madame 
de Renal again at breakfast his conduct was a masterpiece of 
prudence. . 

As for her, she could not look at him without blushing up 
to the eyes, and could not live a moment without looking at 
him. She realised her own nervousness, and her efforts to 
hide it redoubled. Julien only lifted his eyes towards her 
once. At first Madame de Renal admired his prudence : 
soon seeing that this single look was not repeated, she became 
alarmed. Could it be that he does not love me ? she said to 
herself. Alas ! I am quite old for him. I am ten years 
older than he is." 


As she passed from the dining-room to the garden, she 
pressed Julien's hand. In the surprise caused by so singular 
a mark of love, he regarded her with passion, for he had 
thought her very pretty over breakfast, and while keeping 
his eyes downcast he had passed his time in thinking of the 
details of her charms. This look consoled Madame de Renal. 
It did not take away all her anxiety, but her anxiety tended to 
take away nearly completely all her remorse towards her 

The husband had noticed nothing at breakfast. It was 
not so with Madame Derville. She thought she saw Madame 
de Renal on the point of succumbing. During the whole day 
her bold and incisive friendship regaled her cousin with those 
inuendoes which were intended to paint in hideous colours 
the dangers she was running. 

Madame de Renal was burning to find herself alone with 
Julien. She wished to ask him if he still loved her. In spite 
of the unalterable sweetness of her character, she was several 
times on the point of notifying her friend how officious she 

Madame Derville arranged things so adroitly that evening 
in the garden, that she found herself placed between Madame 
de Renal and Julien. Madame de Renal, who had thought 
in her imagination how delicious it would be to press Julien's 
hand and carry it to her lips, was not able to address a single 
word to him. 

This hitch increased her agitation. She was devoured by 
one pang of remorse. She had so scolded Julien for his 
imprudence in coming to her room on the preceding night, 
that she trembled lest he should not come to-nignt. She 
left the garden early and went and ensconced herself in her room, 
but not being able tc control her impatience, she went and 
glued her ear to Julien's door. In spite of the uncertainty 
and passion which devoured her, she did not dare to enter. 
This action seemed to her the greatest possible meanness, 
for it forms the basis of a provincial proverb. 

The servants had not yet all gone to bed. Prudence at last 
compelled her to return to her room. Two hours of waiting 
were two centuries of torture. 

Julien was too faithful to what he called his duty to fail to 
accomplish stage by stage what he had mapped out for himself. 


As one o'clock struck, he escaped softly from his room, 
assured himself that the master of the house was soundly 
asleep, and appeared in Madame de Renal's room. To-night 
he experienced more happiness by the side of his love, 
for he thought less constantly about the part he had to play. 
He had eyes to see, and ears to hear. What Madame de 
Renal said to him about his age contributed to give him some 

" Alas ! I am ten years older than you. How can you 
love me ? " she repeated vaguely, because the idea oppressed 

Julien could not realise her happiness, but he saw that it 
was genuine and he forgot almost entirely his own fear of 
being ridiculous. 

The foolish thought that he was regarded as an inferior, 
by reason of his obscure birth, disappeared also. As Julien's 
transports reassured his timid mistress, she regained a little of 
her happiness, and of her power to judge her lover. Happily, he 
had not, on this occasion, that artificial air which had made 
the assignation of the previous night a triumph rather than a 
pleasure. If she had realised his concentration on playing a 
part that melancholy discovery would have taken away all her 
happiness for ever. She could only have seen in it the 
result of the difference in their ages. 

Although Madame de Renal had never thought of the 
theories of love, difference in age is next to difference in 
fortune, one of the great commonplaces of provincial witticisms, 
whenever love is the topic of conversation. 

In a few days Julien surrendered himself with all the ardour 
of his age, and was desperately in love, 

" One must own," he said to himself, " that she has an 
angelic kindness of soul, and no one in the world is prettier." 

He had almost completely given up playing a part. In a 
moment of abandon, he even confessed to her all his 
nervousness. This confidence raised the passion which he 
was inspiring to its zenith. " And I have no lucky rival after 
all," said Madame de Renal to herself with delight. She 
ventured to question him on the portrait in which he used to 
be so interested. Julien swore to her that it was that of a 

When Madame de Renal had enough presence of mind left 


50 reflect, she did not recover from her astonishment that so 
great a happiness could exist; and that she had never had 
anything of. 

" Oh," she said to herself, " if I had only known Julien ten 
years ago when I was still considered pretty." 

Julien was far from having thoughts like these. His love 
was still akin to ambition. It was the joy of possessing, poor, 
unfortunate and despised as he was, so beautiful a woman. 
His acts of devotion, and his ecstacies at the sight of his 
mistress's charms finished by reassuring her a little with 
regard to the difference of age. If she had possessed a little 
of that knowledge of life which the woman of thirty has 
enjoyed in the more civilised of countries for quite a long 
time, she would have trembled for the duration of a love, 
which only seemed to thrive on novelty and the intoxication 
of a young man's vanity. In those moments when he forgot 
his ambition, Julien admired ecstatically even the hats and 
even the dresses of Madame de Renal. He could not sate 
himself with the pleasure of smelling their perfume. He would 
open her mirrored cupboard, and remain hours on end 
admiring the beauty and the order of everything that he 
found there. His love leaned on him and looked at him- 
He was looking at those jewels and those dresses which had 
had been her wedding presents. 

" I might have married a man like that," thought Madame 
de Renal sometimes. " What a fiery soul ! What a deh'ghtful 
life one would have with him ? " 

As for Julien, he had never been so near to those terrible 
instruments of feminine artillery. " It is impossible," he said 
to himself "for there to be anything more beautiful in Paris." 
He could find no flaw in his happiness. The sincere 
admiration and ecstacies of his mistress would frequently 
make him forget that silly pose which had rendered him so 
stiff and almost ridiculous during the first moments of the 
intrigue. There were moments where, in spite of his habitual 
hypocrisy, he found an extreme delight in confessing to this 
great lady who admired him, his ignorance of a crowd of little 
usages. His mistress's rank seemed to lift him above himself. 
Madame de Renal, on her side, would find the sweetest thrill 
of intellectual voluptuousness in thus instructing in a number 
of little things this young man who was so full of genius, 


and who was looked upon by everyone as destined one day 
to go so far. Even the sub-prefect and M. Valenod could 
not help admiring him. She thought it made them less 
foolish. As for Madame Derville, she was very far from being 
in a position to express the same sentiments. Rendered 
desperate by what she thought she divined, and seeing that 
her good advice was becoming offensive to a woman who 
had literally lost her head, she left Vergy without giving the 
explanation, which her friend carefully refrained from asking. 
Madame de Renal shed a few tears for her, and soon found 
her happiness greater than ever. As a result of her departure, 
she found herself alone with her lover nearly the whole day. 

Julien abandoned himself all the more to the delightful 
society of his sweetheart, since, whenever he was alone, 
Fouque's fatal proposition still continued to agitate him. 
During the first days of his novel life there were moments 
when the man who had never loved, who had never been 
loved by anyone, would find so delicious a pleasure in being 
sincere, that he was on the point of confessing to Madame de 
Renal that ambition which up to then had been the very 
essence of his existence. He would have liked to have been 
able to consult her on the strange temptation which Fouque's 
offer held out to him, but a little episode rendered any 
frankness impossible. 



Oh, how this spring of love resembleth 
The uncertain glory of an April day, 
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun, 
And by and by a cloud takes all away. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona, 

One evening when the sun was setting, and he was sitting 
near his love, at the bottom of the orchard, far from all 
intruders, he meditated deeply. " Will such sweet moments " 
he said to himself " last for ever ? " His soul was engrossed in 
the difficulty of deciding on a calling. He lamented that 
great attack of unhappiness which comes at the end of 
childhood and spoils the first years of youth in those who 
are not rich. 

" Ah ! " he exclaimed, " was not Napoleon the heaven-sent 
saviour for young Frenchmen ? Who is to replace him ? 
What will those unfortunate youths do without him, who, 
even though they are richer than I am, have only just the few 
crowns necessary to procure an education for themselves, but 
have not at the age of twenty enough money to buy a man 
and advance themselves in their career." "Whatever one 
does," he added, with a deep sigh, "ths fatal memory will 
always prevent our being happy." 

He suddenly saw Madame de Renal frown. She assumed 
a cold and disdainful air. She thought his way of looking at 
things typical of a servant. Brought up as she was with the 
idea that she was very rich, she took it for granted that Julien 
was so also. She loved him a thousand times more than life 
and set no store by money. 

Julien was lar from guessing these ideas, but that frown 
brought him back to earth. He had sufficient presence of 


mind to manipulate his phrases, and to give the noble lady 
who was sitting so near him on the grass seat to understand 
that the words he had just repeated had been heard by him 
during his journey to his friend the wood merchant. It was 
the logic of infidels. 

" Well, have nothing to do with those people," said Madame 
de Renal, still keeping a little of that icy air which had 
suddenly succeeded an expression of the warmest tenderness. 

This frown, or rather his remorse for his own imprudence, 
was the first check to the illusion which was transporting' 
Julien. He said to himself, " She is good and sweet, she has 
a great fancy for me, but she has been brought up in the 
enemy's camp. They must be particularly afraid of that class 
of men of spirit who, after a good education, have not enough 
money to take up a career. What would become of those 
nobles if we had an opportunity of fighting them with equal 
arms. Suppose me, for example, mayor of Verrieres, and as 
well meaning and honest as M. de Renal is at bottom. What 
short shrift I should make of the vicaire, M. Valenod and all 
their jobberies ! How justice would triumph in Verrieres. It 
is not their talents which would stop me. They are always 
fumbling about." 

That day Julien's happiness almost became permanent. 
Our hero lacked the power of daring to be sincere. He ought 
to have had the courage to have given battle, and on the spot ; 
Madame de Renal had been astonished by Julien's phrase, 
because the men in her circle kept on repeating that the 
return of Robespierre was essentialy possible by reason of those 
over-educated young persons of the lower classes. Madame 
de Renal's coldness lasted a longish time, and struck Julien 
as marked. The reason was that the fear that she had said 
something in some way or other disagreeable to him, succeeded 
her annoyance for his own breach of taste. This unhappiness 
was vividly reflected in those features which looked so pure 
and so nave when she was happy and away from intruders. 

Julien no longer dared to surrender himself to his dreams. 
Growing calmer and less infatuated, he considered that it was 
imprudent to go and see Madame de Renal in her room. It 
was better for her to come to him. If a servant noticed 
her going about the house, a dozen different excuses could 
explain it. 


But this arrangement had also its inconveniences. Julien 
had received from Fouque some books, which he, as a 
theology student would never have dared to ask for in a 
bookshop. He only dared to open them at night. He 
would often have found it much more convenient not to be 
interrupted by a visit, the very waiting for which had even on 
the evening before the little scene in the orchard complexly 
destroyed his mood for reading. 

He had Madame de Renal to thank for understanding books 
in quite a new way. He had dared to question her on a 
number of little things, the ignorance of which cuts quite short 
the intellectual progress of any young man born out of society, 
however much natural genius one may choose to ascribe to 

This education given through sheer love by a woman who 
was extremely ignorant, was a piece of luck. Julien managed 
to get a clear insight into society such as it is to-day. His 
mind was not bewildered by the narration of what it had 
been once, two thousand years ago, or even sixty years ago, 
in the time of Voltaire and Louis XV. The scales fell from 
his eyes to his inexpressible joy, and he understood at last 
what was going on in Verrieres. 

In the first place there were the very complicated intrigues 
which had been woven for the last two years around the 
prefect of Besancon. They were backed up by letters from 
Paris, written by the cream of the aristocracy. The scheme 
was to make M. de Moirod (he was the most devout man in 
the district) the first and not the second deputy of the mayor 
of Verrieres. 

He had for a competitor a very rich manufacturer whom 
it was essential to push back into the place of second deputy. 

Julien understood at last the inuendoes which he had 
surprised, when the high society of the locality used to come 
and dine at M. de Renal's. This privileged society was 
deeply concerned with the choice of a first deputy, while the 
rest of the town, and above all, the Liberals, did not even 
suspect its possibility. The factor which made the matter 
important was that, as everybody knows, the east side of the 
main street of Verrieres has to be put more than nine feet 
back since that street has become a royal route. 

Now if M. de Moirod, who had three houses liable to have 


their frontage put back, succeeded in becoming first deputy 
and consequently mayor in the event of M. de Renal being 
elected to the chamber, he would shut his eyes, and it would 
be possible to make little imperceptible repairs in the houses 
projecting on to the public road, as the result of which they 
would last a hundred years. In spite of the great piety and 
proved integrity of M. de Moirod, everyone was certain that 
he would prove amenable, because he had a great many 
children. Among the houses liable to have their frontage 
put back nine belonged to the cream of Verrieres society. 

In Julien's eyes this intrigue was much more important 
than the history of the battle of Fontenoy, whose name he 
now came across for the first time in one of the books which 
Fouque had sent him. There had been many things which 
had astonished Julien since the time five years ago when he 
had started going to the cure's in the evening. But discretion 
and humility of spirit being the primary qualities of a 
theological student, it had always been impossible for him 
to put questions. 

One day Madame de Renal was giving an order to her 
husband's valet who was Julien's enemy. 

" But, Madame, to-day is the last Friday in the month," 
the man answered in a rather strange manner. 

" Go," said Madame de Renal. 

" Well," said Julien, " I suppose he's going to go to that 
corn shop which was once a church, and has recently been 
restored to religion, but what is he going to do there ? That's 
one of the mysteries which I have never been able to fathom." 

" It's a very literary institution, but a very curious one," 
answered Madame de Renal. " Women are not admitted to 
it. All I know is, that everybody uses the second person 
singular. This servant, for instance, will go and meet M. 
Valenod there, and the haughty prig will not be a bit offended 
at hearing himself addressed by Saint-Jean in that familiar 
way, and will answer him in the same way. If you are keen 
on knowing what takes place, I will ask M. de Maugiron 
and M. Valenod for details. We pay twenty francs for each 
servant, to prevent their cutting our throats one fine day. 

Time flew. The memory of his mistress's charms distracted 
Julien from his black ambition. The necessity of refraining 
from mentioning gloomy or intellectual topics since they both 


belonged to opposing parties, added, without his suspecting 
it, to the happiness which he owed her, and to the dominion 
which she acquired over him. 

On the occasions when the presence of the precocious 
children reduced them to speaking the language of cold reason, 
Julien looking at her with eyes sparkling with love, would 
listen with complete docility to her explanations of the world 
as it is. Frequently, in the middle of an account of some 
cunning piece of jobbery, with reference to a road or a 
contract, Madame de Renal's mind would suddenly wander to 
the very point of delirium. Julien found it necessary to scold 
her. She indulged when with him in the same intimate 
gestures which she used with her own children. The fact was 
that there were days when she deceived herself that she loved 
him like her own child. Had she not repeatedly to answer 
his nave questions about a thousand simple things that a 
well-born child of fifteen knows quite well ? An instant after- 
wards she would admire him like her master. His genius 
would even go so far as to frighten her. She thought she 
should see more clearly every day the future great man in 
this young abbe. She saw him Pope; she saw him first 
minister like Richelieu. " Shall I live long enough to see 
you in your glory ? " she said to Julien. " There is room for a 
great man ; church and state have need of one.' 



Do you not deserve to be thrown aside like a plebeian 
corpse which has no soul and whose blood flows no 
longer in its veins. 

Sermon oj the Bishop at the Chapel of Saint Clement. 

On the 3rd of September at ten o'clock in the evening, a 
gendarme woke up the whole of Verrieres by galloping up the 
main street. He brought the news that His Majesty the King 

of would arrive the following Sunday, and it was already 

Tuesday. The prefect authorised, that is to say, demanded 
the forming of a guard of honour. They were to exhibit all 
possible pomp. An express messenger was sent to Vergy. 
M. de Renal arrived during the night and found the town in 
a commotion. Each individual had his own pretensions; 
those who were less busy hired balconies to see the King. 

Who was to command the Guard of Honour? M. de 
Renal at once realised how essential it was in the interests of 
the houses liable to have their frontage put back that M. 
Moirod should have the command. That might entitle him 
to the post of first deputy-mayor. There was nothing to say 
against the devoutness of M. de Moirod. It brooked no 
comparison, but he had never sat on a horse. He was a man 
of thirty-six, timid in every way, and equally frightened of 
falling and of looking ridiculous. The mayor had summoned 
him as early as five o'clock in the morning. 

" You see, monsieur, I ask your advice, as though you 
already occupy that post to which all the people on the right 
side want to carry you. In this unhappy town, manufactures 
are prospering, the Liberal party is becoming possessed of 
millions, it aspires to power ; it will manage to exploit 


everything to its own ends. Let us consult the interests 01 
the king, the interest of the monarchy, and above all, the 
interest of our holy religion. Who do you think, monsieur, 
could be entrusted with the command of the guard of honour ? 

In spite of the terrible fear with which horses inspired him, 
M. de Moirod finished by accepting this honour like a martyr. 
" I shall know how to take the right tone," he said to the 
mayor. There was scarcely time enough to get ready the 
uniforms which had served seven years ago on the occasion of 
the passage of a prince of the blood. 

At seven o'clock, Madame de Renal arrived at Vergy with 
Julien and the children. She found her drawing room filled 
with Liberal ladies who preached the union of all parties and 
had come to beg her to urge her husband to grant a place to 
theirs in the guard of honour. One of them actually asserted 
that if her husband was not chosen he would go bankrupt out 
of chagrin. Madame de Renal quickly got rid of all these 
people. She seemed very engrossed. 

Julien was astonished, and what was more, angry that she 
should make a mystery of what was disturbing her, " I had 
anticipated it," he said bitterly to himself. " Her love is 
being overshadowed by the happiness of receiving a King in 
her house. All this hubbub overcomes her. She will love 
me once more when the ideas of her caste no longer trouble 
her brain." 

An astonishing fact, he only loved her the more. 

The decorators began to fill the house. He watched a 
long time for the opportunity to exchange a few words. He 
eventually found her as she was coming out of his own room, 
carrying one of his suits. They were alone. He tried to 
speak to her. She ran away, refusing to listen to him. " I 
am an absolute fool to love a woman like that, whose ambition 
renders her as mad as her husband." 

She was madder. One of her great wishes which she had 
never confessed to Julien for fear of shocking him, was to see 
him leave off, if only for one day, his gloomy black suit. With 
an adroitness which was truly admirable in so ingenuous a 
woman, she secured first from M. de Moirod, and subsequently, 
from M. the sub-perfect de Maugiron, an assurance that Julien 
should be nominated a guard of honour in preference to five 
or six young people, the sons of very well-off manufacturers, 


of whom two at least, were models of piety. M. de Valenod, 
who reckoned on lending his carriage to the prettiest women 
in the town, and on showing off his fine Norman steeds, 
consented to let Julien (the being he hated most in the whole 
world) have one of his horses. But all the guards of honour, 
either possessed or had borrowed, one of those pretty sky-blue 
uniforms, with two silver colonel epaulettes, which had shone 
seven years ago. Madame de Renal wanted a new uniform, 
and she only had four days in which to send to Besancon and 
get from there the uniform, the arms, the hat, etc., everything 
necessary for a Guard of Honour. The most delightful part 
of it was that she thought it imprudent to get Julien's uniform 
made at Verrieres. She wanted to surprise both him and the 

Having settled the questions of the guards of honour, and 
of the public welcome finished, the mayor had now to organise 

a great religious ceremony. The King of did not 

wish to pass through Verrieres without visiting the famous relic 
of St. Clement, which is kept at Bray-le-Haut' barely a league 
from the town. The authorities wanted to have a numerous 
attendance of the clergy, but this matter was the most difficult 
to arrange. M. Maslon, the new cure, wanted to avoid at 
any price the presence of M. Chelan. It was in vain that 
M. de Renal tried to represent to him that it would be 
imprudent to do so. M. the Marquis de La Mole whose 
ancestors had been governors of the province for so many 
generations, had been chosen to accompany the King of 

He had known the abbe Chelan for thirty years. 

He would certainly ask news of him when he arrived at 
Verrieres, and if he found him disgraced he was the very man 
to go and route him out in the little house to which he had 
retired, accompanied by all the escort that he had at his dis- 
position. What a rebuff that would be ? 

" I shall be disgraced both here and at Besancon," answered 
the abbe Maslon if he appears among my clergy. A Jansenist, 
by the Lord." 

" Whatever you can say, my dear abbe, replied M. de 
Renal, I'll never expose the administration of Verrieres to 
receiving such an affront from M. de la Mole. You do not 
know him. He is orthodox enough at Court, but here in the 
provinces, he is a satirical wit and cynic, whose only object is 


to make people uncomfortable. He is capable of covering us 
with ridicule in the eyes of the Liberals, simply in order to 
amuse himself. 

It was only on the night between the Saturday and the 
Sunday, after three whole days of negotiations that the pride 
of the abbe Maslon bent before the fear of the mayor, which 
was now changing into courage. It was necessary to write a 
honeyed letter to the abbe Chelan, begging him to be present 
at the ceremony in connection with the relic of Bray-le-Haut, 
if of course, his great age and his infirmity allowed him to do 
so. M. Chelan asked for and obtained a letter of invitation 
for Julien, who was to accompany him as his sub-deacon. 

From the beginning of the Sunday morning, thousands of 
peasants began to arrive from the neighbouring mountains, and 
to inundate the streets of Verrieres. It was the finest sun- 
shine. Finally, about three o'clock, a thrill swept through all 
this crowd. A great fire had been perceived on a rock two 
leagues from Verrieres. This signal announced that the king 
had just entered the territory of the department. At the same 
time, the sound of all the bells and the repeated volleys from 
an old Spanish cannon which belonged to the town, testified 
to its joy at this great event. Half the population climbed on 
to the roofs. All the women were on the balconies. The 
guard of honour started to march, The brilliant uniforms 
were universally admired ; everybody recognised a relative or a 
friend. They made fun of the timidity of M. de Moirod, 
whose prudent hand was ready every single minute to catch 
hold of his saddle-bow. But one remark resulted in all the 
others being forgotten ; the first cavalier in the ninth line was 
a very pretty, slim boy, who was not recognised at first. He 
soon created a general sensation, as some uttered a cry of 
indignation, and others were dumbfounded with astonishment. 
They recognised in this young man, who was sitting one of 
the Norman horses of M. Valenod, little Sorel, the carpenter's 
son. There was a unanimous out-cry against the mayor, above 
all on the part of the Liberals. What, because this little 
labourer, who masqueraded as an abbe, was tutor to his brats, 
he had the audacity to nominate him guard of honour to the 
prejudice of rich manufacturers like so-and-so and so and so ! 
" Those gentlemen," said a banker's wife, " ought to put that 
insolent gutter-boy in his proper place." 


" He is cunning and carries a sabre," answered her neighbour. 
" He would be dastardly enough to slash them in the face." 

The conversation of aristocratic society was more dangerous. 
The ladies began to ask each other if the mayor alone was 
responsible for this grave impropriety. Speaking generally, 
they did justice to his contempt for lack of birth. 

Julien was the happiest of men, while he was the subject of 
so much conversation. Bold by nature, he sat a horse better 
than the majority of the young men of this mountain town. 
He saw that, in the eyes of the women, he was the topic of 

His epaulettes were more brilliant than those of the others, 
because they were new. His horse pranced at every moment. 
He reached the zenith of joy. 

His happiness was unbounded when, as they passed by the 
old rampart, the noise of the little cannon made his horse 
prance outside the line. By a great piece of luck he did not 
fall ; from that moment he felt himself a hero. He was one 
of Napoleon's officers of artillery, and was charging a battery. 

One person was happier than he. She had first seen him 
pass from one of the folding windows in the Htel deVille. 
Then taking her carriage and rapidly making a long dtour, 
she arrived in time to shudder when his horse took him out- 
side the line. Finally she put her carriage to the gallop, left 
by another gate of the town, succeeded in rejoining the route 
by which the King was to pass, and was able to follow the 
Guard of Honour at twenty paces distance in the midst of a 
noble dust. Six thousand peasants cried " Long live the 
King," when the mayor had the honour to harangue his 
Majesty. An hour afterwards, when all the speeches had been 
listened to, and the King was going to enter the town, the 
little cannon began again to discharge its spasmodic volleys. 
But an accident ensued, the victim being, not one of the 
cannoneers who had proved their mettle at Leipsic and at 
Montreuil, but the future deputy-mayor, M. de Moirod. His 
horse gently laid him in the one heap of mud on the high 
road, a somewhat scandalous circumstance, inasmuch as it 
was necessary to extricate him to allow the King to pass. 
His Majesty alighted at the fine new church, which was 
decked out to-day with all its crimson curtains. The King 
was due to dine, and then afterwards take his carriage again 


and go and pay his respects to the celebrated relic of Saint 
Clement. Scarcely was the King in the church than Julien 
galloped towards the house of M. de Renal. Once there he 
doffed with a sigh his fine sky-blue uniform, his sabre and his 
epaulettes, to put on again his shabby little black suit. He 
mounted his horse again, and in a few moments was at 
Bray-le-Haut, which was on the summit of a very pretty hill. 
"Enthusiasm is responsible for these numbers of peasants," 
thought Julien. It was impossible to move a step at Verrieres, 
and here there were more than ten thousand round this 
ancient abbey. Half ruined by the vandalism of the Revolu- 
tion, it had been magnificently restored since the Restoration, 
and people were already beginning to talk of miracles. Julien 
rejoined the abbe Chelan, who scolded him roundly and 
gave him a cassock and a surplice. He dressed quickly and 
followed M. Chelan, who was going to pay a call on the 
young bishop of Agde. He was a nephew of M. de la Mole, 
who had been recently nominated, and had been charged with 
the duty of showing the relic to the King. But the bishop 
was not to be found. 

The clergy began to get impatient. It was awaiting its 
chief in the sombre Gothic cloister of the ancient abbey. 
Twenty-four cures had been brought together so as to repre- 
sent the ancient chapter of Bray-le-Haut, which before 1789 
consisted of twenty-four canons. The cures, having deplored 
the bishop's youth for three-quarters of an hour, thought it 
fitting for their senior to visit Monseigneur to apprise him that 
the King was on the point of arriving, and that it was time to 
betake himself to the choir. The great age of M. Chelan 
gave him the seniority. In spite of the bad temper which 
he was manifesting to Julien, he signed him to follow. Julien 
was wearing his surplice with distinction. By means of some 
trick or other of ecclesiastical dress, he had made his fine curling 
hair very flat, but by a forgetfulness, which redoubled the 
anger of M. Chelan, the spurs of the Guard of Honour could 
be seen below the long folds of his cassock. 

When they arrived at the bishop's apartment, the tall 
lackeys with their lace-frills scarcely deigned to answer the 
old cure to the effect that Monseigneur was not receiving. 
They made fun of him when he tried to explain that in his 
capacity of senior member of the chapter of Bray-le-Haut, he 


had the privilege of being admitted at any time to the officiat- 
ing bishop. 

Julien's haughty temper was shocked by the lackeys' 
insolence. He started to traverse the corridors of the ancient 
abbey, and to shake all the doors which he found. A very 
small one yielded to his efforts, and he found himself in a 
cell in the midst of Monseigneur's valets, who were dressed in 
black suits with chains on their necks. His hurried manner 
made these gentlemen think that he had been sent by the 
bishop, and they let him pass. He went some steps further 
on, and found himself in an immense Gothic hall, which was 
extremely dark, and completely wainscotted in black oak. 
The ogive windows had all been walled in with brick 
except one. There was nothing to disguise the coarseness of 
this masonry, which offered a melancholy contrast to the 
ancient magnificence of the woodwork. The two great sides 
of this hall, so celebrated among Burgundian antiquaries, and 
built by the Duke, Charles the Bold, about 1470 in expiation 
of some sin, were adorned with richly sculptured wooden 
stalls. All the mysteries of the Apocalypse were to be seen 
portrayed in wood of different colours. 

This melancholy magnificence, debased as it was by the 
sight of the bare bricks and the plaster (which was still quite 
white) affected Julien. He stopped in silence. He saw at 
the other extremity of the hall, near the one window which let 
in the daylight, a movable mahogany mirror. A young man 
in a violet robe and a lace surplice, but with his head bare, 
was standing still three paces from the glass. This piece of 
furniture seemed strange in a place like this, and had doubt- 
less been only brought there on the previous day. Julien 
thought that the young man had the appearance of being 
irritated. He was solemnly giving benedictions with his right 
hand close to the mirror. 

"What can this mean," he thought. "Is this young priest 
performing some preliminary ceremony? Perhaps he is the 
bishop's secretary. He will be as insolent as the lackeys. 
Never mind though ! Let us try." He advanced and 
traversed somewhat slowly the length of the hall, with his 
gaze fixed all the time on the one window, and looking at the 
young man who continued without any intermission bestowing 
slowly an infinite number of blessings. 


The nearer he approached the better he could distinguish 
his angry manner. The richness of the lace surplice stopped 
Julien in spite of himself some paces in front of the mirror. 
" It is my duty to speak," he said to himself at last. But the 
beauty of the hall had moved him, and he was already upset 
by the harsh words he anticipated. 

The young man saw him in the mirror, turned round, and 
suddenly discarding his angry manner, said to him in the 
gentlest tone, 

" Well, Monsieur, has it been arranged at last ? " 

Julien was dumbfounded. As the young man began to 
turn towards him, Julien saw the pectoral cross on his breast, 
It was the bishop of Agde. "As young as that," thought 
Julien. " At most six or eight years older than I am ! " 

He was ashamed of his spurs.' 

" Monseigneur," he said at last, " I am sent by M. Chelan, 
the senior of the chapter." 

" Ah, he has been well recommended to me," said the 
bishop in a polished tone which doubled Julien's delight, 
" But I beg your pardon, Monsieur, I mistook you for the person 
who was to bring me my mitre. It was badly packed at Paris. 
The silver cloth towards the top has been terribly spoiled. 
It will look awful," ended the young bishop sadly, " And 
besides, I am being kept waiting." 

" Monseigneur, I will go and fetch the mitre if your grace will 
let me." 

Julien's fine eyes did their work. 

" Go, Monsieur," answered the bishop, with charming polite- 
ness. " I need it immediately. I am grieved to keep the 
gentlemen of the chapter waiting." 

When Julien reached the centre of the hall, he turned 
round towards the bishop, and saw that he had again com- 
menced giving benedictions. 

" What can it be ? " Julien asked himself. " No doubt it 
is a necessary ecclesiastical preliminary for the ceremony which 
is to take place." When he reached the cell in which the 
valets were congregated, he saw the mitre in their hands. 
These gentlemen succumbed in spite of themselves to his 
imperious look, and gave him Monseigneur's mitre. 

He felt proud to carry it. As he crossed the hall he walked 
slowly. He held it with reverence. He found the bishop 


seated before the glass, but from time to time, his right hand, 
although fatigued, still gave a blessing. Julien helped him to 
adjust his mitre. The bishop shook his head. 

" Ah ! it will keep on," he said to Julien with an air of 
satisfaction. " Do you mind going a little way off? " 

Then the bishop went very quickly to the centre of the 
room, then approached the mirror, again resumed his angry 
manner, and gravely began to give blessings. 

Julien was motionless with astonishment. He was tempted 
to understand, but did not dare. The bishop stopped, and 
suddenly abandoning his grave manner looked at him and 
said : 

" What do you think of my mitre, monsieur, is it on right ? " 

" Quite right, Monseigneur." 

" It is not too far back ? That would look a little silly, but 
I musn't on the other hand wear it down over the eyes like an 
officer's shako." 

" It seems to me to be on quite right." 

"The King of is accustomed to a venerable clergy 

who are doubtless very solemn. I should not like to appear 
lacking in dignity, especially by reason of my youth." 

And the bishop started again to walk about and give 

" It is quite clear," said Julien, daring to understand at last, 
" He is practising giving his benediction." 

" I am ready," the bishop said after a few moments. " Go, 
Monsieur, and advise the senior and the gentlemen of the 

Soon M. Chelan, followed by the two oldest cures, entered 
by a big magnificently sculptured door, which Julien had not 
previously noticed. But this time he remained in his place 
quite at the back, and was only able to see the bishop over the 
shoulders of ecclesiastics who were pressing at the door in crowds. 

The bishop began slowly to traverse the hall. When he 
reached the threshold, the cures formed themselves into a 
procession. After a short moment of confusion, the procession 
began to march intoning the psalm. The bishop, who was 
between M. Chelan and a very old cure, was the last to 
advance. Julien being in attendance on the abbe Chelan 
managed to get quite near Monseigneur. They followed the 
long corridors of the abbey of Bray-le-Haut. In spite of the 


brilliant sun they were dark and damp. They arrived finally 
at the portico of the cloister. Julien was dumbfounded with 
admiration for so fine a ceremony. His emotions were divided 
between thoughts of his own ambition which had been re- 
awakened by the bishop's youth and thoughts of the latter's 
refinement and exquisite politeness. This politeness was quite 
different to that of M. de Renal, even on his good days. " The 
higher you lift yourself towards the first rank of society," said 
Julien to himself, "the more charming manners you find." 

They entered the church by a side door; suddenly an awful 
noise made the ancient walls echo. Julien thought they were 
going to crumble. It was the little piece of artillery again. 
It had been drawn at a gallop by eight horses and had just 
arrived. Immediately on its arrival it had been run out by 
the Leipsic cannoneers and fired five shots a minute as though 
the Prussians had been the target. 

But this admirable noise no longer produced any effect on 
Julien. He no longer thought of Napoleon and military glory. 
" To be bishop of Agde so young," he thought. " But where is 
Agde ? How much does it bring in ? Two or three hundred 
thousand francs, perhaps." 

Monseigneur's lackeys appeared with a magnificent canopy. 
M. Chelan took one of the poles, but as a matter of fact it 
was Julien who carried it. The bishop took his place under- 
neath. He had really succeeded in looking old; and our 
hero's admiration was now quite unbounded. "What can't 
one accomplish with skill," he thought. 

The king entered. Julien had the good fortune to see him 
at close quarters. The bishop began to harangue him with 
unction, without forgetting a little nuance of very polite 
anxiety for his Majesty. We will not repeat a description of 
the ceremony of Bray-le-Haut. They filled all the columns of 
the journals of the department for a fortnight on end. Julien 
learnt from the bishop that the king was descended from 
Charles the Bold. 

At a later date, it was one of Julien's duties to check the 
accounts of the cost of this ceremony. M. de la Mole, who 
had succeeded in procuring a bishopric for his nephew, had 
wished to do him the favour of being himself responsible for 
all the expenses. The ceremony alone of Bray-le-Haute cost 
three thousand eight hundred francs. 


After the speech of the bishop, and the answer of the king, 
his Majesty took up a position underneath the canopy, and 
then knelt very devoutly on a cushion near the altar. The 
choir was surrounded by stalls, and the stalls were raised two 
steps from the pavement. It was at the bottom of these steps 
that Julien sat at the feet of M. de Chelan almost like a 
train-bearer sitting next to his cardinal in the Sixtine chapel 
at Rome. There was a Te Deum, floods of incense, in- 
numerable volleys of musketry and artillery ; the peasants were 
drunk with happiness and piety. A day like this undoes the 
work of a hundred numbers of the Jacobin papers. 

Julien was six paces from the king, who was really praying 
with devotion. He noticed for the first time a little man with 
a witty expression, who wore an almost plain suit. But he 
had a sky-blue ribbon over this very simple suit. He was 
nearer the king than many other lords, whose clothes were 
embroidered with gold to such an extent that, to use Julien's 
expression, it was impossible to see the cloth. He learnt some 
minutes later that it was Monsieur de la Mole. He thought 
he looked haughty, and even insolent. 

" I'm sure this marquis is not so polite as my pretty bishop," 
he thought. " Ah, the ecclesiastical calling makes men mild 
and good. But the king has come to venerate the relic, and 
I don't see a trace of the relic. Where has Saint Clement 
got to ? " 

A little priest who sat next to him informed him that the 
venerable relic was at the top of the building in a chapelle 

"What is a chapelle ardente" said Julien to himself. 

But he was reluctant to ask the meaning of this word. He 
redoubled his attention. 

The etiquette on the occasion of a visit of a sovereign 
prince is that the canons do not accompany the bishop. 
But, as he started on his march to the cliapelle ardente, my 
lord bishop of Agde called the abbe Chelan. Julien dared to 
follow him. Having climbed up a long staircase, they reached 
an extremely small door whose Gothic frame was magnificently 
gilded. This work looked as though it had been constructed 
the day before. 

Twenty-four young girls belonging to the most distinguished 
families in Verrieres were assembled in front of the door. The 



bishop knelt down in the midst of these pretty maidens before 
he opened the door. While he was praying aloud, they 
seemed unable to exhaust their admiration for his fine lace, 
his gracious mien, and his young and gentle face. This 
spectacle deprived our hero of his last remnants of reason. 
At this moment he would have fought for the Inquisition, and 
with a good conscience. The door suddenly opened. The 
little chapel was blazing with light. More than a thousand 
candles could be seen before the altar, divided into eight lines 
and separated from each other by bouquets of flowers. The 
suave odour of the purest incense eddied out from the door of 
the sanctuary. The chapel, which had been newly gilded, was 
extremely small but very high. Julien noticed that there were 
candles more than fifteen feet high upon the altar. The 
young girls could not restrain a cry of admiration. Only the 
twenty-four young girls, the two cures and Julien had been 
admitted into the little vestibule of the chapel. Soon the 
king arrived, followed by Monsieur de la Mole and his great 
Chamberlain. The guards themselves remained outside 
kneeling and presenting arms. 

His Majesty precipitated, rather than threw himself, on to 
the stool. It was only then that Julien, who was keeping 
close to the gilded door, perceived over the bare arm of a 
young girl, the charming statue of St. Clement. It was 
hidden under the altar, and bore the dress of a young Roman 
soldier. It had a large wound on its neck, from which the 
blood seemed to flow. The artist had surpassed himself. 
The eyes, which though dying were full of grace, were half 
closed. A budding moustache adored that charming mouth 
which, though half closed, seemed notwithstanding to be 
praying. The young girl next to Julien wept warm tears at 
the sight. One of her tears fell on Julien's hand. 

After a moment of prayer in the profoundest silence, that 
was only broken by the distant sound of the bells of all the 
villages within a radius of ten leagues, the bishop of Agde 
asked the king's permission to speak. He finished a short 
but very touching speech with a passage, the very simplicity 
of which assured its effectiveness : 

" Never forget, young Christian women, that you have seen 
one of the greatest kings of the world on his knees before the 
servants of this Almighty and terrible God. These servants, 


feeble, persecuted, assassinated as they were on earth, as you 
can see by the still bleeding wounds of Saint Clement, will 
triumph in Heaven. You will remember them, my young 
Christian women, will you not, this day for ever, and will 
detest the infidel. You will be for ever faithful to this God 
who is so great, so terrible, but so good ? " 

With these words the bishop rose authoritatively. 

" You promise me ? " he said, lifting up his arm with an 
inspired air. 

" We promise," said the young girls melting into tears. 

" I accept your promise in the name of the terrible God," 
added the bishop in a thunderous voice, and the ceremony 
was at an end. 

The king himself was crying. It was only a long time 
afterwards that Julien had sufficient self-possession to enquire 
" where were the bones of the Saint that had been sent from 
Rome to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy ? " He was 
told that they were hidden in the charming waxen figure. 

His Majesty deigned to allow the young ladies who had 
accompanied him into the chapel to wear a red ribbon on 
which were embroidered these words, "HATE OF THE 

Monsieur de la Mole had ten thousand bottles of wine 
distributed among the peasants. In the evening at Verrieres, 
the Liberals made a point of having illuminations which were 
a hundred times better than those of the Royalists. Before 
leaving, the king paid a visit to M. de Moirod. 



The grotesqness of every-day events conceals the real 
unhappiness of the passions. Barnave. 

As he was replacing the usual furniture in the room which M. 
de la Mole had occupied, Julien found a piece of very strong 
paper folded in four. He read at the bottom of the first page 
" To His Excellency M. le Marquis de la Mole, peer of France, 
Chevalier of the Orders of the King, etc. etc." It was a 
petition in the rough hand-writing of a cook. 

" Monsieur le Marquis, I have had religious principles all my 
life. I was in Lyons exposed to the bombs at the time of the 
siege, in '93 of execrable memory. I communicate, I go to 
Mass every Sunday in the parochial church. I have never 
missed the paschal duty, even in '93 of execrable memory. 
My cook used to keep servants before the revolution, my 
cook fasts on Fridays. I am universally respected in Verrieres, 
and I venture to say I deserve to be so. I walk under the 
canopy in the processions at the side of the cure and of the 
mayor. On great occasions I carry a big candle, bought at 
my own expense. 

ask Monsieur the marquis for the lottery appointment of 
Verrieres, which in one way or another is bound to be vacant 
shortly as the beneficiary is very ill, and moreover votes on 
the wrong side at elections, etc. " De Cholin." 

In the margin of this petition was a recommendation signed 
" de Moirod " which began with this line, " I have had the 
honour, the worthy person who makes this request " 

" So even that imbecile de Cholin shows me the way to go 
about things," said Julien to himself, 


Eight days after the passage of the King of through 

Verrieres, the one question which predominated over the 
innumerable falsehoods, foolish conjectures, and ridiculous dis- 
cussions, etc., etc., which had had successively for their object 
the king, the Marquis de la Mole, the ten thousand bottles of 
wine, the fall of poor de Moirod, who, hoping to win a cross, 
only left his room a week after his fall, was the absolute in- 
decency of having foisted Julien Sorel, a carpenter's son, into 
the Guard of Honour. You should have heard on this point 
the rich manufacturers of printed calico, the very persons who 
used to bawl themselves hoarse in preaching equality, morning 
and evening in the cafe. That haughty woman, Madame de 
Renal, was of course responsible for this abomination. The 
reason ? The fine eyes and fresh complexion of the little 
abbe Sorel explained everything else. 

A short time after their return to Vergy, Stanislas, the 
youngest of the children, caught the fever; Madame de 
Renal was suddenly attacked by an awful remorse. For the 
first time she reproached herself for her love with some logic. 
She seemed to understand as though by a miracle the enormity 
of the sin into which she had let herself be swept. Up to 
that moment, although deeply religious, she had never thought 
of the greatness of her crime in the eyes of God. 

In former times she had loved God passionately in the 
Convent of the Sacred Heart; in the present circumstances, 
she feared him with equal intensity. The struggles which 
lacerated her soul were all the more awful in that her fear 
was quite irrational. Julien found that the least argument 
irritated instead of soothing her. She saw in the illness the 
language of hell. Moreover, Julien was himself very fond of 
the little Stanislas. 

It soon assumed a serious character. Then incessant re- 
morse deprived Madame de Renal of even her power of sleep. 
She ensconced herself in a gloomy silence : if she had opened 
her mouth, it would only have been to confess her crime to 
God and mankind. 

" I urge you," said Julien to her, as soon as they got alone, 
" not to speak to anyone. Let me be the sole confidant of 
your sufferings. If you still love me, do not speak. Your 
words will not be able to take away our Stanislas' fever." But 
his consolations produced no effect. He did not know that 


Madame de Renal had got it into her head that, in order to 
appease the wrath of a jealous God, it was necessary either to 
hate Julien, or let her son die. It was because she felt she 
could not hate her lover that she was so unhappy. 

" Fly from me," she said one day to Julien. " In the name 
of God leave this house. It is your presence here which kills 
my son. God punishes me," she added in a low voice. " He 
is just. I admire his fairness. My crime is awful, and I 
was living without remorse," she exclaimed. "That was 
the first sign of my desertion of God : I ought to be doubly 

Julien was profoundly touched. He could see in this 
neither hypocrisy nor exaggeration. " She thinks that she 
is killing her son by loving me, and all the same the unhappy 
woman loves me more than her son. I cannot doubt it. 
It is remorse for that which is killing her. Those sentiments 
of hers have real greatness. But how could I have inspired 
such a love, I who am so poor, so badly-educated, so ignorant, 
and sometimes so coarse in my manners ? " 

One night the child was extremely ill. At about two 
o'clock in the morning, M. de Renal came to see it. The child 
consumed by fever, and extremely flushed, could not recognise 
its father. Suddenly Madame de Renal threw herself at her 
husband's feet; Julien saw that she was going to confess 
everything and ruin herself for ever. 

Fortunately this extraordinary proceeding annoyed M. de 

" Adieu ! Adieu ! " he said, going away. 

" No, listen to me," cried his wife on her knees before him, 
trying to hold him back. " Hear the whole truth. It is I 
who am killing my son. I gave him life, and I am taking it 
back. Heaven is punishing me. In the eyes of God I am 
guilty of murder. It is necessary that I should ruin and 
humiliate myself. Perhaps that sacrifice will appease the 
the Lord." 

If M. de Renal had been a man of any imagination, he 
would then have realized everything. 

" Romantic nonsense," he cried, moving his wife away as 
she tried to embrace his knees. " All that is romantic 
nonsense ! Julien, go and fetch the doctor at daybreak," 
and he went back to bed. Madame de Renal fell on her 


knees half-fainting, repelling Julien's help with a hysterical 

Julien was astonished. 

" So this is what adultery is," he said to himself. " Is it 
possible that those scoundrels of priests should be right, that 
they who commit so many sins themselves should have the 
privilege of knowing the true theory of sin ? How droll ! " 

For twenty minutes after M. de Renal had gone back to 
bed, Julien saw the woman he loved with her head resting on 
her son's little bed, motionless, and almost unconscious. 
" There," he said to himself, " is a woman of superior 
temperament brought to the depths of unhappiness simply 
because she has known me." 

" Time moves quickly. What can I do for her ? I must 
make up my mind. I have not got simply myself to consider 
now. What do I care for men and their buffooneries ? What 
can I do for her ? Leave her ? But I should be leaving her 
alone and a prey to the most awful grief. That automaton of 
a husband is more harm to her than good. He is so coarse 
that he is bound to speak harshly to her. She may go mad 
and throw herself out of the window." 

" If I leave her, if I cease to watch over her, she will confess 
everything, and who knows, in spite of the legacy which she 
is bound to bring him, he will create a scandal. She may 
confess everything (great God) to that scoundrel of an abbe 
who makes the illness of a child of six an excuse for not 
budging from this house, and not without a purpose either. 
In her grief and her fear of God, she forgets all she knows 
of the man ; she only sees the priest." 

"Go away," said Madame de Renal suddenly to him, 
opening her eyes. 

" I would give my life a thousand times to know what 
could be of most use to you," answered Julien. " I have 
never loved you so much, my dear angel, or rather it is only 
from this last moment that I begin to adore you as you 
deserve to be adored. What would become of me far from 
you, and with the consciousness that you are unhappy owing 
to what I have done ? But don't let my suffering come into 
the matter. I will go yes, my love ! But if I leave you, 
dear ; if I cease to watch over you, to be incessantly between 
you and your husband, you will tell him everything. You 


will ruin yourself. Remember that he will hound you out of his 
house in disgrace. Besancon will talk of the scandal. You 
will be said to be absolutely in the wrong. You will never 
lift up your head again after that shame." 

" That's what I ask," she cried, standing up. " I shall 
suffer, so much the better." 

" But you will also make him unhappy through that awful 

" But I shall be humiliating myself, throwing myself into 
the mire, and by those means, perhaps, I shall save my son. 
Such a humiliation in the eyes of all is perhaps to be regarded 
as a public penitence. So far as my weak judgment goes, is 
it not the greatest sacrifice that I can make to God ? perhaps 
He will deign to accept my humiliation, and to leave me my 
son. Show me another sacrifice which is more painful and I 
will rush to it." 

" Let me punish myself. I too am guilty. Do you wish 
me to retire to the Trappist Monastery ? The austerity of that 
life may appease your God. Oh, heaven, why cannot I take 
Stanislas's illness upon myself? " 

" Ah, do you love him then," said Madame de Renal, getting 
up and throwing herself in his arms. 

At the same time she repelled him with horror. 

" I believe you ! I believe you ! Oh, my one friend," she 
cried falling on her knees again. " Why are you not the 
father of Stanislas ? In that case it would not be a terrible sin 
to love you more than your son." 

" Won't you allow me to stay and love you henceforth like a 
brother ? It is the only rational atonement. It may appease 
the wrath of the Most High." 

" Am I," she cried, getting up and taking Julien's head 
between her two hands, and holding it some distance from her. 
" Am I to love you as if you were a brother ? Is it in my 
power to love you like that ? " Julien melted into tears. 

" I will obey you," he said, falling at her feet. I will obey 
you in whatever you order me. That is all there is left for 
me to do. My mind is struck with blindness. I do not see 
any course to take. If I leave you you will tell your husband 
everything. You will ruin yourself and him as well. He will 
never be nominated deputy after incurring such ridicule. If I 
stay, you will think I am the cause of your son's death, and 


you will die of grief. Do you wish to try the effect of my 
departure. If you wish, I will punish myself for our sin by 
leaving you for eight days. I will pass them in any retreat 
you like. In the abbey of Bray-le-Haut, for instance. But 
swear that you will say nothing to your husband during my 
absence. Remember that if you speak I shall never be able 
to come back." 

She promised and he left, but was called back at the end of 
two days. 

" It is impossible for me to keep my oath without you. I 
shall speak to my husband if you are not constantly there to 
enjoin me to silence by your looks. Every hour of this 
abominable life seems to last a day." 

Finally heaven had pity on this unfortunate mother. Little 
by little Stanislas got out of danger. But the ice was broken. 
Her reason had realised the extent of her sin. She could not 
recover her equilibrium again. Her pangs of remorse re- 
mained, and were what they ought to have been in so sincere 
a heart. Her life was heaven and hell : hell when she did 
not see Julien ; heaven when she was at his feet. 

" I do not deceive myself any more," she would say to him, 
even during the moments when she dared to surrender herself 
to his full love. " I am damned, irrevocably damned. You 
are young, heaven may forgive you, but I, I am damned. 
I know it by a certain sign. I am afraid, who would not be 
afraid at the sight of hell ? but at the bottom of my heart I 
do not repent at all. I would commit my sin over again if I 
had the opportunity. If heaven will only forbear to punish 
me in this world and through my children, I shall have more 
than I deserve. But you, at any rate, my Julien," she would 
cry at other moments, "are you happy? Do you think I love 
you enough ? " 

The suspiciousness and morbid pride of Julien, who needed, 
above all, a self-sacrificing love, altogether vanished when he 
saw at every hour of the day so great and indisputable a 
sacrifice. He adored Madame de Renal. " It makes no 
difference her being noble, and my being a labourer's son. 
She loves me .... she does not regard me as a valet charged 
with the functions of a lovei." That fear once dismissed, 
Julien fell into all the madness of love, into all its deadly 


" At any rate," she would cry, seeing his doubts of her love, 
" let me feel quite happy during the three days we still have 
together. Let us make haste ; perhaps to-morrow will be too 
late. If heaven strikes me through my children, it will be in 
vain that I shall try only to live to love you, and to be blind 
to the fact that it is my crime which has killed them. I could 
not survive that blow. Even if I wished I could not ; I should 
go mad." 

"Ah, if only I could take your sin on myself as you so 
generously offered to take Stanislas' burning fever ! " 

This great moral crisis changed the character of the senti- 
ment which united Julien and his mistress. His love was no 
longer simply admiration for her beauty, and the pride of 
possessing her. 

Henceforth their happiness was of a quite superior character. 
The flame which consumed them was more intense. They 
had transports filled with madness. Judged by the worldly 
standard their happiness would have appeared intensified. 
But they no longer found that delicious serenity, that cloudless 
happiness, that facile joy of the first period of their love, when 
Madame de Renal's only fear was that Julien did not love her 
enough. Their happiness had at times the complexion of 

In their happiest and apparently their most tranquil 
moments, Madame de Renal would suddenly cry out, " Oh, 
great God, I see hell," as she pressed Julien's hand with a 
convulsive grasp. " What horrible tortures ! I have well 
deserved them." She grasped him and hung on to him like 
ivy onto a wall. 

Julien would try in vain to calm that agitated soul. She 
would take his hand, cover it with kisses. Then, relapsing 
into a gloomy reverie, she would say, " Hell itself would be a 
blessing for me. I should still have some days to pass with 
him on this earth, but hell on earth, the death of my children. 
Still, perhaps my crime will be forgiven me at that price. Oh, 
great God, do not grant me my pardon at so great a price. 
These poor children have in no way transgressed against You. 
I, I am the only culprit. I love a man who is not my 

Julien subsequently saw Madame de Renal attain what were 
apparently moments of tranquillity. She was endeavouring 


to control herself; she did not wish to poison the life of the 
man she loved. They found the days pass with the rapidity 
of lightning amid these alternating moods of love, remorse, 
and voluptuousness. Julien lost the habit of reflecting. 

Mademoiselle Elisa went to attend to a little lawsuit which 
she had at Verrieres. She found Valenod very piqued against 
Julien. She hated the tutor and would often speak about 

" You will ruin me, Monsieur, if I tell the truth," she said 
one day to Valenod. "All masters have an understanding 
amongst themselves with regard to matters of importance. There 
are certain disclosures which poor servants are never forgiven." 

After these stereotyped phrases, which his curiosity 
managed to cut short, Monsieur Valenod received some in- 
formation extremely mortifying to his self-conceit. 

This woman, who was the most distinguished in the district, 
the woman on whom he had lavished so much attention in 
the last six years, and made no secret of it, more was the pity, 
this woman who was so proud, whose disdain had put him to 
the blush times without number, had just taken for her lover 
a little workman masquerading as a tutor. And to fill the 
cup of his jealousy, Madame de Renal adored that lover. 

" And," added the housemaid with a sigh, " Julien did not 
put himself out at all to make his conquest, his manner was 
as cold as ever, even with Madame." 

Elisa had only become certain in the country, but she 
believed that this intrigue dated from much further back. 
"That is no doubt the reason," she added spitefully, "why he 
refused to marry me. And to think what a fool I was when I 
went to consult Madame de Renal and begged her to speak 
to the tutor." 

The very same evening, M. de Renal received from the 
town, together with his paper, a long anonymous letter which 
apprised him in the greatest detail of what was taking place 
in his house. Julien saw him pale as he read this letter 
written on blue paper, and look at him with a malicious ex- 
pression. During all that evening the mayor failed to throw 
off his trouble. It was in vain that Julien paid him court by 
asking for explanations about the genealogy of the best 
families in Burgundy. 



Do not give dalli ance 

Too much the rein ; the strongest oaths are straw 

To the fire i' the blood. Tempest. 

As they left the drawing-room about midnight, Julien had time 
to say to his love, 

" Don't let us see each other to-night. Your husband has 
suspicions. I would swear that that big letter he read with a 
sigh was an anonymous letter." 

Fortunately, Julien locked himself into his room. Madame 
de Renal had the mad idea that this warning was only a pre- 
text for not seeing her. She absolutely lost her head, and 
came to his door at the accustomed hour. Julien, who had 
heard the noise in the corridor, immediately blew out his 
lamp. Someone was trying to open the door. Was it 
Madame de Renal ? Was it a jealous husband ? 

Very early next morning the cook, who liked Julien, brought 
him a book, on the cover of which he read these words written 
in Italian : Guardate alia pagina 130. 

Julien shuddered at the imprudence, looked for page 130, 
and found pinned to it the following letter hastily written, 
bathed with tears, and full of spelling mistakes. Madame 
de Renal was usually very correct. He was touched by this 
circumstance, and somewhat forgot the awfulness of the 

" So you did not want to receive me to-night ? There are 
moments when I think that I have never read down to the 
depths of your soul. Your looks frighten me. I am afraid of 
you. Great God ! perhaps you have never loved me ? In 


that case let my husband discover my love, and shut me up 
in a prison in the country far away from my children. Perhaps 
God wills it so. I shall die soon, but you will have proved 
yourself a monster. 

" Do you not love me ? Are you tired of my fits of folly 
and of remorse, you wicked man ? Do you wish to ruin me ? 
I will show you an easy way. Go and show this letter to all 
Verrieres, or rather show it to M. Valenod. Tell him that I 
love you, nay, do not utter such a blasphemy, tell him I adore 
you, that it was only on the day I saw you that my life 
commenced; that even in the maddest moments of my youth 
I never even dreamt of the happiness that I owe to you, that 
I have sacrificed my life to you and that I am sacrificing my 
soul. You know that I am sacrificing much more. But does 
that man know the meaning of sacrifice? Tell him, I say, 
simply to irritate him, that 1 will defy all evil tongues, that the 
only misfortune for me in the whole world would be to witness 
any change in the only man who holds me to life. What a 
happiness it would be to me to lose my life, to offer it 
up as a sacrifice and to have no longer any fear for my 

" Have no doubt about it, dear one, if it is an anonymous 
letter, it comes from that odious being who has persecuted me 
for the last six years with his loud voice, his stories about his 
jumps on horseback, his fatuity, and the never ending catalogue 
of all his advantages. 

" Is there an anonymous letter ? I should like to discuss 
that question with you, you wicked man; but no, you acted 
rightly. Clasping you in my arms perhaps for the last time, 
I should never have been able to argue as coldly as I do, 
now that I am alone. From this moment our happiness 
will no longer be so easy. Will that be a vexation for you ? 
Yes, on those days when you haven't received some amusing 
book from M. Fouque. The sacrifice is made; to-morrow, 
whether there is or whether there is not any anonymous letter, 
I myself will tell my husband I have received an anonymous 
letter and that it is necessary to give you a golden bridge at 
once, find some honourable excuse, and send you back to 
your parents without delay. 

" Alas, dear one, we are going to be separated for a fortnight, 
perhaps a month ! Go, I will do you justice, you will suffer 


as much as I, but anyway, this is the only means of disposing 
of this anonymous letter. It is not the first that my husband 
has received, and on my score too. Alas ! how I used to 
laugh over them ! 

" My one aim is to make my husband think that the 
letter comes from M. Valenod ; I have no doubt that he is its 
author. If you leave the house, make a point of establishing 
yourself at Verrieres ; I will manage that my husband should 
think of passing a fortnight there in order to prove to the 
fools there was no coldness between him and me. Once at 
Verrieres, establish ties of friendship with everyone, even with 
the Liberals. I am sure that all their ladies will seek you 

" Do not quarrel with M. Valenod, or cut off his ears, as you 
said you would one day. Try, on the contrary, to ingratiate 
yourself with him. The essential point is that it should be 
notorious in Verrieres that you are going to enter the house 
hold either of Valenod or of someone else to take charge of 
the children's education. 

" That is what my husband will never put up with. If he 
does feel bound to resign himself to it, well, at any rate, you 
will be living in Verrieres and I shall be seeing you sometimes. 
My children, who love you so much, will go and see you. 
Great God ! I feel that I love my children all the more 
because they love you. How is all this going to end ? I am 
wandering . . . Anyway you understand your line of conduct. 
Be nice, polite, but not in any way disdainful to those 
coarse persons. I ask you on my lyiees; they will be the 
arbiters of our fate. Do not fear for a moment but that, so 
far as you are concerned, my husband will conform to what 
public opinion lays down for him. 

" It is you who will supply me with the anonymous letter. 
Equip yourself with patience and a pair of scissors, cut out 
from a book the words which you will see, then stick them 
with the mouth-glue on to the leaf of loose paper which I am 
sending you. It comes to me from M. Valenod. Be on your 
guard against a search in your room ; burn the pages of the 
book which you are going to mutilate. If you do not find 
the words ready-made, have the patience to form them letter 
by letter. I have made the anonymous letter too short. 


Annonymous Letter. 
' Madame, 

All your little goings-on are known, but the persons 
interested in stopping have been warned. I have still sufficient 
friendship left for you to urge you to cease all relations with the 
little peasant. If you are sensible enough to do this, your husband 
will believe that the notification he has received is misleading, and 
he will be left in his illusion. Remember that I have your secret ; 
tremble, unhappy woman, you must now walk straight before me.' 

" As soon as you have finished glueing together the words 
that make up this letter (have you recognised the director's 
special style of speech) leave the house, I will meet you. 

" I will go into the village and come back with a troubled 
face. As a matter of fact I shall be very much troubled. 
Great God ! What a risk I run, and all because you thought 
you guessed an anonymous letter. Finally, looking very much 
upset, I shall give this letter to my husband and say that an 
unknown man handed it to me. As for you, go for a walk 
with the children, on the road to the great woods, and do not 
come back before dinner-time. 

" You will be able to see the tower of the dovecot from the 
top of the rocks. If things go well for us, I will place a white 
handkerchief there, in case of the contrary, there will be 
nothing at all. 

" Ungrateful man, will not your heart find out some means 
of telling me that you love me before you leave for that walk. 
Whatever happens, be certain of one thing : I shall never 
survive our final separation by a single day. Oh, you bad 
mother ! but what is the use of my writing those two words, 
dear Julien ? I do not feel them, at this moment I can only 
think of you. I have only written them so as not to be 
blamed by you, but what is the good of deception now that I 
find myself face to face with losing you? Yes, let my soul 
seem monstrous to you, but do not let me lie to the man whom 
I adore. I have already deceived only too much in this life 
of mine. Go ! I forgive you if you love me no more. I 
have not the time to read over my letter. It is a small thing 
in my eyes to pay for the happy days that I have just passed 
in your arms with the price of my life. You know that they 
will cost me more." 



Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we ; 

For such as we are made of, such we be. Twelfth Night. 

It was with a childish pleasure that for a whole hour Julien 
put the words together. As he came out of his room, he met 
his pupils with their mother. She took the letter with a 
simplicity and a courage whose calmness terrified him. 

" Is the mouth-glue dry enough yet ? " she asked him. 

"And is this the woman who was so maddened by remorse ? " 
he thought. "What are her plans at this moment?" He 
was too proud to ask her, but she had never perhaps pleased 
him more. 

" If this turns out badly," she added with the same coolness, 
" I shall be deprived of everything. Take charge of this, and 
bury it in some place of the mountain. It will perhaps one 
day be my only resource." 

She gave him a glass case in red morocco filled with 
gold and some diamonds. 

" Now go," she said to him. 

She kissed the children, embracing the youngest twice. 
Julien remained motionless. She left him at a rapid pace 
without looking at him. 

From the moment that M. de Renal had opened the anony- 
mous letter his life had been awful. He had not been so agitated 
since a duel which he had just missed having in 1816, and 
to do him justice, the prospect of receiving a bullet would 
have made him less unhappy. He scrutinised the letter from 
every standpoint. " Is that not a woman's handwriting?" he 
said to himself. In that case, what woman had written it? 
He reviewed all those whom he knew at Verrieres without 


being able to fix his suspicions on any one. Could a man 
have dictated that letter ? Who was that man ? Equal 
uncertainty on this point. The majority of his acquaintances 
were jealous of him, and, no doubt, hated him. " I must 
consult my wife," he said to himself through habit, as he got 
up from the arm-chair in which he had collapsed. 

" Great God ! " he said aloud before he got up, striking his 
head, "it is she above all of whom I must be distrustful. 
At the present moment she is my enemy," and tears came 
into his eyes through sheer anger. 

By a poetic justice for that hardness of heart which 
constitutes the provincial idea of shrewdness, the two men 
whom M. de Renal feared the most at the present moment 
were his two most intimate friends. 

" I have ten friends perhaps after those," and he passed 
them in review, gauging the degree of consolation which he 
could get from each one. " All of them, all of them," he 
exclaimed in a rage, " will derive the most supreme pleasure 
from my awful experience." 

As luck would have it, he thought himself envied, and not 
without reason. Apart from his superb town mansion in 

which the king of had recently spent the night, and thus 

conferred on it an enduring honour, he had decorated his 
chateau at Vergy extremely well. The facade was painted 
white and the windows adorned with fine green shutters. He 
was consoled for a moment by the thought of this magnificence. 
The fact was that this chateau was seen from three or four 
leagues off, to the great prejudice of all the country houses or 
so-called chateaux of the neighbourhood, which had been left 
in the humble grey colour given them by time. 

There was one of his friends on whose pity and whose 
tears M. de Renal could count, the churchwarden of the 
parish ; but he was an idiot who cried at everything. 
This man, however, was his only resource. " What 
unhappiness is comparable to mine," he exclaimed with rage. 
" What isolation ! " 

" Is it possible ? " said this truly pitiable man to himself. 
" Is it possible that I have no friend in my misfortune of 
whom I can ask advice ? for my mind is wandering, I feel it. 
" Oh, Falcoz ! oh, Ducros ! " he exclaimed with bitterness. 
Those were the names of two friends of his childhood whom 


he had dropped owing to his snobbery in 1814. They were 
not noble, and he had wished to change the footing of equality 
on which they had been living with him since their childhood. 

One of them, Falcoz, a paper-merchant of Verrieres, and a 
man of intellect and spirit, had bought a printing press in the 
chief town of the department and undertaken the production 
of a journal. The priestly congregation had resolved to ruin 
him ; his journal had been condemned, and he had been 
deprived of his printer's diploma. In these sad circumstances 
he ventured to write to M. de Renal for the first time for ten 
years. The mayor of Verrieres thought it his duty to answer 
in the old Roman style : " If the King's Minister were to do 
me the honour of consulting me, I should say to him, ruin 
ruthlessly all the provincial printers, and make printing a 
monopoly like tobacco." M. de Renal was horrified to 
remember the terms of this letter to an intimate friend whom 
all Verrieres had once admired, " Who would have said that 
I, with my rank, my fortune, my decorations, would ever 
come to regret it ? " It was in these transports of rage, 
directed now against himself, now against all his surroundings, 
that he passed an awful night ; but, fortunately, it never 
occurred to him to spy on his wife. 

" I am accustomed to Louise," he said to himself, " she 
knows all my affairs. If I were free to marry to-morrow, I 
should not find anyone to take her place." Then he began 
to plume himself on the idea that his wife was innocent. 
This point of view did not require any manifestation of 
character, and suited him much better. " How many 
calumniated women has one not seen ? " 

" But," he suddenly exclaimed, as he walked about 
feverishly, " shall I put up with her making a fool of me with 
her lover as though I were a man of no account, some mere 
ragamuffin ? Is all Verrieres to make merry over my 
complaisance ? What have they not said about Charmier (he 
was a husband in the district who was notoriously deceived ?) 
Was there not a smile on every lip at the mention of his 
name ? He is a good advocate, but whoever said anything 
about his talent for speaking ? ' Oh, Charmier,' they say, 
1 Bernard's Charmier,' he is thus designated by the name of 
the man who disgraces him." 

" I have no daughter, thank heaven," M. de Renal would 


say at other times, "and the way in which I am going to 
punish the mother will consequently not be so harmful to my 
children's household. I could surprise this little peasant 
with my wife and kill them both ; in that case the tragedy of 
the situation would perhaps do away with the grotesque 
element." This idea appealed to him. He followed it up in 
all its details. " The penal code is on my side, and whatever 
happens our congregation and my friends on the jury will save 
me." He examined his hunting-knife which was quite sharp, 
but the idea of blood frightened him. 

" I could thrash this insolent tutor within an inch of his 
life and hound him out of the house ; but what a sensation 
that would make in Verrieres and even over the whole 
department ! After Falcoz' journal had been condemned, and 
when its chief editor left prison, I had a hand in making him 
lose his place of six hundred francs a year. They say that 
this scribbler has dared to show himself again in Besangon. 
He may lampoon me adroitly and in such a way that it will 
be impossible to bring him up before the courts. Bring him 
up before the courts ! The insolent wretch will insinuate in 
a thousand and one ways that he has spoken the truth. A 
well-born man who keeps his place like I do, is hated by all 
the plebeians. I shall see my name in all those awful Paris 
papers. Oh, my God, what depths. To see the ancient 
name of Renal plunged in the mire of ridicule. If I ever 
travel I shall have to change my name. What ! abandon that 
name which is my glory and my strength. Could anything be 
worse than that? 

" If I do not kill my wife but turn her out in disgrace, she 
has her aunt in Besangon who is going to hand all her 
fortune over to her. My wife will go and live in Paris with 
Julien. It will be known at Verrieres, and I shall be taken 
for a dupe." The unhappy man then noticed from the paleness 
of the lamplight that the dawn was beginning to appear. He 
went to get a little fresh air in the garden. At this moment 
he had almost determined to make no scandal, particularly in 
view of the fact that a scandal would overwhelm with joy all 
his good friends in Verrieres. 

The promenade in the garden calmed him a little. " No," 
he exclaimed, " I shall not deprive myself of my wife, she is 
too useful to me." He imagined with horror what his house 


would be without his wife. The only relative he had was 
the Marquise of R old, stupid, and malicious. 

A very sensible idea occurred to him, but its execution 
required a strength of character considerably superior to the 
small amount of character which the poor man possessed. 
" If I keep my wife," he said to himself, " I know what I 
shall do one day ; on some occasion when she makes me 
lose patience, I shall reproach her with her guilt. She is 
proud, we shall quarrel, and all this will happen before she 
has inherited her aunt's fortune. And how they will all make 
fun of me then ! My wife loves her children, the result will 
be that everything will go to them. But as for me, I shall be 
the laughing-stock of Verrieres. ' What,' they will say, ' he 
could not even manage to revenge himself on his wife ! ' 
Would it not be better to leave it and verify nothing ? In 
that case I tie my hands, and cannot afterwards reproach her 
with anything." 

An instant afterwards M. de Renal, once more a prey to 
wounded vanity, set himself laboriously to recollect all the 
methods of procedure mentioned in the billiard-room of the 
Casino or the Nobles' Club in Verrieres, when some fine 
talker interrupted the pool to divert himself at the expense of 
some deceived husband. How cruel these pleasantries 
appeared to him at the present moment ! 

" My God, why is my wife not dead ! then I should be 
impregnable against ridicule. Why am I not a widower ? I 
should go and pass six months in Paris in the best society. 
After this moment of happiness occasioned by the idea of 
widowerhood, his imagination reverted to the means of 
assuring himself of the truth. Should he put a slight layer of 
bran before the door of Julien's room at midnight after 
everyone had gone to bed ? He would see the impression of 
the feet in the following morning. 

" But that's no good," he suddenly exclaimed with rage. 
" That inquisitive Elisa will notice it, and they will soon know 
all over the house that I am jealous." 

In another Casino tale a husband had assured himself of his 
misfortune by tying a hair with a little wax so that it shut the 
door of the gallant as effectually as a seal. 

After so many hours of uncertainty this means of clearing 
up his fate seemed to him emphatically the best, and he was 


thinking of availing himself of it when, in one of the turnings 
of the avenue he met the very woman whom he would like to 
have seen dead. She was coming back from the village. She 
had gone to hear mass in the church of Vergy. A tradition, 
extremely doubtful in the eyes of the cold philosopher, but in 
which she believed, alleges that the little church was once the 
chapel of the chateau of the Lord of Vergy. This idea 
obsessed Madame de Renal all the time in the church that 
she had counted on spending in prayer. She kept on imagin- 
ing to herself the spectacle of her husband killing Julien when 
out hunting as though by accident, and then making her eat 
his heart in the evening. 

" My fate," she said to herself, " depends on what he will 
think when he listens to me. It may be I shall never get 
another opportunity of speaking to him after this fatal quarter 
of an hour. He is not a reasonable person who is governed 
by his intellect. In that case, with the help of my weak 
intelligence, I could anticipate what he will do or say. He 
will decide our common fate. He has the power. But this 
fate depends on my adroitness, on my skill in directing the 
ideas of this crank, who is blinded by his rage and unable to 
see half of what takes place. Great God ! I need talent and 
coolness, where shall I get it ? " 

She regained her calmness as though by magic, and she 
entered the garden and saw her husband in the distance. 
His dishevelled hair and disordered dress showed that he had 
not slept. 

She gave him a letter with a broken seal but folded. As 
for him, without opening it, he gazed at his wife with the eyes 
of a madman. 

" Here's an abominable thing," she said to him, " which an 
evil-looking man who makes out that he knows you and is 
under an obligation to you, handed to me as I was passing 
behind the notary's garden. I insist on one thing and that is 
that you send back this M. Julien to his parents and without 
delay." Madame de Renal hastened to say these words, 
perhaps a little before the psychological moment, in order 
to free herself from the awful prospect of having to say 

She was seized with joy on seeing that which she was 
occasioning to her husband. She realised from the fixed stare 


which he was rivetting on her that Julien had surmised 

" What a genius he is to be so brilliantly diplomatic instead 
of succumbing to so real a misfortune," she thought. " He 
will go very far in the future ! Alas, his successes will only 
make him forget me." 

This little act of admiration for the man whom she adored 
quite cured her of her trouble. 

She congratulated herself on her tactics. " I have not been 
unworthy of Julien," she said to herself with a sweet and 
secret pleasure. 

M. de Renal kept examining the second anonymous letter 
which the reader may remember was composed of printed 
words glued on to a paper verging on blue. He did not say 
a word for fear of giving himself away. " They still make fun 
of me in every possible way," said M. de Renal to himself, 
overwhelmed with exhaustion. " Still more new insults to 
examine and all the time on accouut of my wife." He was 
on the point of heaping on her the coarsest insults He was 
barely checked by the prospects of the Besancon legacy. 
Consumed by the need of venting his feelings on something, 
he crumpled up the paper of the second anonymous letter and 
began to walk about with huge strides. He needed to get 
away from his wife. A few moments afterwards he came 
back to her in a quieter frame of mind. 

" The thing is to take some definite line and send Julien 
away," she said immediately, " after all it is only a labourer's 
son. You will compensate him by a few crowns and besides 
he is clever and will easily manage to find a place, with M. 
Valenod for example, or with the sub-prefect De Maugiron 
who both have children. In that way you will not be doing 
him any wrong. . . ." 

" There you go talking like the fool that you are," exclaimed 
M. de Renal in a terrible voice. " How can one hope that a 
woman will show any good sense ? You never bother yourself 
about common sense. How can you ever get to know any- 
thing ? Your indifference and your idleness give you no 
energy except for hunting those miserable butterflies, which 
we are unfortunate to have in our houses." 

Madame de Renal let him speak and he spoke for a long 
time. He was working- off his anger, to use the local expression. 


" Monsieur," she answered him at last, " I speak as a 
woman who has been outraged in her honour, that is to say, 
in what she holds most precious." 

Madame de Renal preserved an unalterable sang-froid 
during all this painful conversation on the result of which 
depended the possibility of still living under the same roof as 
Julien. She sought for the ideas which she thought most 
adapted to guide her husband's blind anger into a safe channel. 
She had been insensible to all the insulting imputations which 
he had addressed to her. She was not listening to them, she 
was then thinking about Julien. " Will he be pleased with 

" This little peasant whom we have loaded with attentions, 
and even with presents, may be innocent," she said to him at 
last, " but he is none the less the occasion of the first affront 
that I have ever received. Monsieur, when I read this 
abominable paper, I vowed to myself that either he or I 
should leave your house." 

" Do you want to make a scandal so as to dishonour me 
and yourself as well ? You will make things hum in Verrieres 
I can assure you." 

" It is true, the degree of prosperity in which your prudent 
management has succeeded in placing you yourself, your 
family and the town is the subject of general envy. . . . Well, 
I will urge Julien to ask you for a holiday to go and spend 
the month with that wood-merchant of the mountains, a fit 
friend to be sure for this little labourer." 

" Mind you do nothing at all," resumed M. de Renal with a 
fair amount of tranquillity. " I particularly insist on your not 
speaking to him. You will put him into a temper and make 
him quarrel with me. You know to what extent this little 
gentleman is always spoiling for a quarrel." 

"That young man has no tact," resumed Madame de Renal. 
" He may be learned, you know all about that, but at bottom 
he is only a peasant. For my own part I never thought much 
of him since he refused to marry Elisa. It was an assured 
fortune ; and that on the pretext that sometimes she had 
made secret visits to M. Valenod." 

" Ah," said M. de Renal, lifting up his eyebrows inordinately. 
" What, did Julien tell you that ? " 

" Not exactly, he always talked of the vocation which calls 


him to the holy ministry, but believe me, the first vocation 
for those lower-class people is getting their bread and butter. 
He gave me to understand that he was quite aware of her 
secret visits." 

" And I I was ignorant," exclaimed M. de Renal, growing 
as angry as before and accentuating his words. " Things take 
place in my house which I know nothing about. . . . What ! 
has there been anything between Elisa and Valenod ? " 

" Oh, that's old history, my dear," said Madame de Renal 
with a smile, "and perhaps no harm has come of it. It was 
at the time when your good friend Valenod would not have 
minded their thinking at Verrieres that a perfectly platonic 
little affection was growing up between him and me." 

"I had that idea once myself," exclaimed M. de Renal, 
furiously striking his head as he progressed from discovery to 
discovery, " and you told me nothing about it." 

" Should one set two friends by the ears on account of a 
little fit of vanity on the part of our dear director ? What 
society woman has not had addressed to her a few letters 
which were both extremely witty and even a little gallant ? " 

" He has written to you ? " 

" He writes a great deal." 

" Show me those letters at once, I order you," and M. de 
Renal pulled himself up to his six feet. 

" I will do nothing of the kind," he was answered with a 
sweetness verging on indifference. "I will show you them 
one day when you are in a better frame of mind." 

" This very instant, odds life,' - ' exclaimed M. de Renal, 
transported with rage and yet happier than he had been for 
twelve hours. 

"Will you swear to me," said Madame de Renal quite 
gravely, " never to quarrel with the director of the workhouse 
about these letters ? " 

" Quarrel or no quarrel, I can take those foundlings away 
from him, but," he continued furiously, " I want those letters 
at once. Where are they ? " 

" In a drawer in my secretary, but I shall certainly not give 
you the key." 

" I'll manage to break it," he cried, running towards his 
wife's room. 

He did break in fact with a bar of iron a costly secretary of 


veined mahogany which came from Paris and which he had 
often been accustomed to wipe with the nap of his coat, when 
he thought he had detected a spot. 

Madame de Renal had climbed up at a run the hundred 
and twenty steps of the dovecot. She tied the corner of a 
white handkerchief to one of the bars of iron of the little 
window. She was the happiest of women. With tears in her 
eyes she looked towards the great mountain forest. " Doubt- 
less," she said to herself, " Julien is watching for this happy 

She listened attentively for a long time and then she cursed 
the monotonous noise of the grasshopper and the song of the 
birds. " Had it not been for that importunate noise, a cry of 
joy starting from the big rocks could have arrived here." 
Her greedy eye devoured that immense slope of dark 
verdure which was as level as a meadow. 

"Why isn't he clever enough," she said to herself, quite 
overcome, " to invent some signal to tell me that his happiness 
is equal to mine ? " She only came down from the dovecot 
when she was frightened of her husband coming there to look 
for her. 

She found him furious. He was perusing the soothing 
phrases of M. de Valenod and reading them with an emotion 
to which they were but little used. 

" I always come back to the same idea," said Madame de 
Renal seizing a moment when a pause in her husband's 
ejaculations gave her the possibility of getting heard. "It is 
necessary for Julien to travel. Whatever talent he may have 
for Latin, he is only a peasant after all, often coarse and 
lacking in tact. Thinking to be polite, he addresses inflated 
compliments to me every day, which are in bad taste. He 
learns them by heart out of some novel or other." 

" He never reads one," exclaimed M. de Renal. " I am 
assured of it. Do you think that I am the master of a house 
who is so blind as to be ignorant of what takes place in his 
own home." 

" Well, if he doesn't read these droll compliments anywhere, 
he invents them, and that's all the worse so far as he is 
concerned. He must have talked about me in this tone in 
Verrieres and perhaps without going so far," said Madame 
Renal with the idea of making a discovery,' " he may have 


talked in the same strain to Elisa, which is almost the same 
as if he had said it to M. Valenod." 

" Ah," exclaimed M. de Renal, shaking the table and the 
room with one of the most violent raps ever made by a human 
fist. "The anonymous printed letter and Valenod's letters 
are written on the same paper." 

" At last," thought Madame de Renal. She pretended to 
be overwhelmed at this discovery, and without having the 
courage to add a single word, went and sat down some way 
off on the divan at the bottom of the drawing-room. 

From this point the battle was won. She had a great deal 
of trouble in preventing M. de Renal from going to speak to 
the supposed author of the anonymous letter. " What, can't 
you see that making a scene with M. Valenod without sufficient 
proof would be the most signal mistake? You are envied, 
Monsieur, and who is responsible ? Your talents : your wise 
management, your tasteful buildings, the dowry which I have 
brought you, and above all, the substantial legacy which we 
are entitled to hope for from my good aunt, a legacy, the 
importance of which is inordinately exaggerated, have made 
you into the first person in Verrieres." 

" You are forgetting my birth," said M. de Renal, smiling a 

" You are one of the most distinguished gentlemen in the 
province," replied Madame de Renal emphatically. " If the 
king were free and could give birth its proper due, you would 
no doubt figure in the Chamber of Peers, etc. And being in 
this magnificent position, you yet wish to give the envious a 
fact to take hold of." 

" To speak about this anonymous letter to M. Valenod is 
equivalent to proclaiming over the whole of Verrieres, nay, 
over the whole of Besancon, over the whole province that this 
little bourgeois who has been admitted perhaps imprudently to 
intimacy with a Renal, has managed to offend him. At the 
time when those letters which you have just taken prove that 
I have reciprocated M. Valenod's love, you ought to kill me. 
I should have deserved it a hundred times over, but not to 
show him your anger. Remember that all our neighbours are 
only waiting for an excuse to revenge themselves for your 
superiority. Remember that in 1816 you had a hand in 
certain arrests. 


" I think that you show neither consideration nor love for 
me," exclaimed M. de Renal with all the bitterness evoked by 
such a memory, " and I was not made a peer." 

" I am thinking, my dear," resumed Madame de Renal with 
a smile, " that I shall be richer than you are, that I have been 
your companion for twelve years, and that by virtue of those 
qualifications I am entitled to have a voice in the council 
and, above all, in today's business. If you prefer M. Julien 
to me," she added, with a touch of temper which was but 
thinly disguised, " I am ready to go and pass a winter with 
my aunt." These words proved a lucky shot. They possessed 
a firmness which endeavoured to clothe itself with courtesy. 
It decided M. de Renal, but following the provincial custom, 
he still thought for a long time, and went again over all his 
arguments ; his wife let him speak. There was still a touch 
of anger in his intonation. Finally two hours of futile rant 
exhausted the strength of a man who had been subject during 
the whole night to a continuous fit of anger. He determined 
on the line of conduct he was going to follow with regard to 
M. Valenod, Julien and even Elisa. 

Madame de Renal was on the point once or twice during 
this great scene of feeling some sympathy for the very real 
unhappiness of the man who had been so dear to her 
for twelve years. But true passions are selfish. Besides she 
was expecting him every instant to mention the anonymous 
letter which he had received the day before and he did not 
mention it. In order to feel quite safe, Madame de Renal 
wanted to know the ideas which the letter had succeeding in 
suggesting to the man on whom her fate depended, for, in the 
provinces the husbands are the masters of public opinion. 
A husband who complains covers himself with ridicule, an 
inconvenience which becomes no less dangerous in France 
with each succeeding year; but if he refuses to provide his 
wife with money, she falls to the status of a labouring woman 
at fifteen sous a day, while the virtuous souls have scruples 
about employing her. 

An odalisque in the seraglio can love the Sultan with all 
her might. He is all-powerful and she has no hope of 
stealing his authority by a series of little subtleties. The 
master's vengeance is terrible and bloody but martial and 
generous ; a dagger thrust finishes everything. But it is by 


stabbing her with public contempt that a nineteenth-century 
husband kills his wife. It is by shutting against her the doors 
of all the drawing-rooms. 

When Madame de Renal returned to her room, her feeling 
of danger was vividly awakened. She was shocked by the 
disorder in which she found it. The locks of all the pretty 
little boxes had been broken. Many planks in the floor had 
been lifted up. " He would have no pity on me," she said to 
herself. "To think of his spoiling like this, this coloured 
wood floor which he likes so much ; he gets red with rage 
whenever one of his children comes into it with wet shoes, 
and now it is spoilt for ever." The spectacle of this violence 
immediately banished the last scruples which she was enter- 
taining with respect to that victory which she had won only 
too rapidly. 

Julien came back with the children a little before the 
dinner-bell. Madame de Renal said to him very drily at 
dessert when the servant had left the room : 

" You have told me about your wish to go and spend a 
fortnight at Verrieres. M. de Renal is kind enough to give 
you a holiday. You can leave as soon as you like, but the 
childrens' exercises will be sent to you every day so that they 
do not waste their time." " I shall certainly not allow you 
more than a week," said M. de Renal in a very bitter tone. 
Julien thought his visage betrayed the anxiety of a man who 
was seriously harassed. 

" He has not yet decided what line to take," he said to his 
love during a moment when they were alone together in the 

Madame de Renal rapidly recounted to him all she had 
done since the morning. 

" The details are for to-night," she added with a smile. 

" Feminine perversity," thought Julien, " What can be the 
pleasure, what can be the instinct which induces them to 
deceive us." 

" I think you are both enlightened and at the same time 
blinded by your love," he said to her with some coldness. 
" Your conduct to-day has been admirable, but is it prudent 
for us to try and see each other to-night? This house is 
paved with enemies. Just think of Elisa's passionate hatred 
for me." 


"That hate is very like the passionate indifference which 
you no doubt have for me." 

" Even if I were indifferent I ought to save you from the 
peril in which I have plunged you. If chance so wills it that 
M. de Renal should speak to Elisa, she can acquaint him with 
everything in a single word. What is to prevent him from 
hiding near my room fully armed ? " 

" What, not even courage ? " said Madame de Renal, with 
all the haughtiness of a scion of nobility. 

" I will never demean myself to speak about my courage," 
said Julien, coldly, " it would be mean to do so. Let the 
world judge by the facts. But," he added, taking her hand, 
" you have no idea how devoted I am to you and how over- 
joyed I am of being able to say good-bye to you before this 
cruel separation." 



Speech has been given to man to conceal his thought. 

R. P. Malagrida. 

Julien had scarcely arrived at Verrieres before he reproached 
himself with his injustice towards Madame de Renal. " I 
should have despised her for a weakling of a woman if she 
had not had the strength to go through with her scene with 
M. de Renal. But she has acquitted herself like a diplomatist 
and I sympathise with the defeat of the man who is my enemy. 
There is a bourgeois prejudice in my action; my vanity is 
offended because M. de Renal is a man. Men form a vast 
and illustrious body to which I have the honour to belong. I 
am nothing but a fool." M. Chelan had refused the magnificent 
apartments which the most important Liberals in the district 
had offered him, when his loss of his living had necessitated 
his leaving the parsonage. The two rooms which he had 
rented were littered with his books. Julien, wishing to show 
Verrieres what a priest could do, went and fetched a dozen 
pinewood planks from his father, carried them on his back all 
along the Grande-Rue, borrowed some tools from an old 
comrade and soon built a kind of bookcase in which he 
arranged M. Chelan's books. 

" I thought you were corrupted by the vanity of the world," 
said the old man to him as he cried with joy, " but this is 
something which well redeems all the childishness of that 
brilliant Guard of Honour uniform which has made you so 
many enemies." 

M. de Renal had ordered Julien to stay at his house. No 
one suspected what had taken place. The third day after his 
arrival Julien saw no less a personage than M. the sub-prefec 


de Maugiron come all the way up the stairs to his room. It 
was only after two long hours of fatuous gossip and long- 
winded lamentations about the wickedness of man, the lack 
of honesty among the people entrusted with the administration 
of the public funds, the dangers of his poor France, etc. etc., 
that Julien was at last vouchsafed a glimpse of the object of 
the visit. They were already on the landing of the staircase 
and the poor half disgraced tutor was escorting with all proper 
deference the future prefect of some prosperous department, 
when the latter was pleased to take an interest in Julien's 
fortune, to praise his moderation in money matters, etc., etc. 
Finally M. de Maugiron, embracing him in the most paternal 
way, proposed that he should leave M. de Renal and enter 
the household of an official who had children to educate and 
who, like King Philippe, thanked Heaven not so much that 
they had been granted to him, but for the fact that they had 
been born in the same neighbourhood as M. Julien. Their 
tutor would enjoy a salary of 800 francs, payable not from 
month to month, which is not at all aristocratic, said M. de 
Maugiron, but quarterly and always in advance. 

It was Julien's turn now. After he had been bored for an 
hour and a half by waiting for what he had to say, his answer 
was perfect and, above all, as long as a bishop's charge. It 
suggested everything and yet said nothing clearly. It showed 
at the same time respect for M. de Renal, veneration for the 
public of Verrieres and gratitude to the distinguished sub- 
prefect. The sub-prefect, astonished at finding him more 
Jesuitical than himself, tried in vain to obtain something 
definite. Julien was delighted, seized the opportunity to 
practise, and started his answer all over again in different 
language. Never has an eloquent minister who wished to 
make the most of the end of a session when the Chamber 
really seemed desirous of waking up, said less in more words. 

M. de Maugiron had scarcely left before Julien began to 
laugh like a madman. In order to exploit his Jesuitical 
smartness, he wrote a nine-page letter to M. de Renal in which 
he gave him an account of all that had been said to him and 
humbly asked his advice. " But the old scoundrel has not 
told me the name of the person who is making the offer. It 
is bound to be M. Valenod who, no doubt, sees in my exile at 
Verrieres the result of his anonymous letter." 


Having sent off his despatch and feeling as satisfied as a 
hunter who at six o'clock in the morning on a fine autumn 
day, comes out into a plain that abounds with game, he went 
out to go and ask advice of M. Chelan. But before he had 
arrived at the good cure's, providence, wishing to shower 
favours upon him, threw in his path M. de Valenod, to whom 
he owned quite freely that his heart was torn in two ; a poor 
lad such as he was owed an exclusive devotion to the vocation 
to which it had pleased Heaven to call him. But vocation 
was not everything in this base world. In order to work 
worthily at the vine of the Lord, and to be not totally unworthy 
of so many worthy colleagues, it was necessary to be educated ; 
it was necessary to spend two expensive years at the seminary 
of Besancon ; saving consequently became an imperative 
necessity, and was certainly much easier with a salary of eight 
hundred francs paid quarterly than with six hundred francs 
which one received monthly. On the other hand, did not 
Heaven, by placing him by the side of the young de Renals, 
and especially by inspiring him with a special devotion to 
them, seem to indicate that it was not proper to abandon that 
education for another one. 

Julien reached such a degree of perfection in that particular 
kind of eloquence which has succeeded the drastic quickness 
of the empire, that he finished by boring himself with the 
sound of his own words. 

On reaching home he found a valet of M. Valenod in full 
livery who had been looking for him all over the town, with a 
card inviting him to dinner for that same day. 

Julien had never been in that man's house. Only a few 
days before he had been thinking of nothing but the means of 
giving him a sound thrashing without getting into trouble with 
the police. Although the time of the dinner was one o'clock, 
Julien thought it was more deferential to present himself at 
half-past twelve at the office of M. the director of the workhouse. 
He found him parading his importance in the middle of a lot 
of despatch boxes. His large black whiskers, his enormous 
quantity of hair, his Greek bonnet placed across the top of his 
head, his immense pipe, his embroidered slippers, the big chains 
of gold crossed all over his breast, and the whole stock-in- 
trade of a provincial financier who considers himself prosper- 
ous, failed to impose on Julien in the least ; They only 


made him think the more of the thrashing which he owed 

He asked for the honour of being introduced to Madame 
Valenod. She was dressing and was unable to receive him. 
By way of compensation he had the privilege of witnessing the 
toilet of M. the director of the workhouse. They subsequently 
went into the apartment of Madame Valenod, who introduced 
her children to him with tears in her eyes. This lady was 
one of the most important in Verrieres, had a big face like a 
man's, on which she had put rouge in honour of this great 
function. She displayed all the maternal pathos of which she 
was capable. 

Julien thought all the time of Madame de Renal. His 
distrust made him only susceptible to those associations which 
are called up by their opposites, but he was then affected to the 
verge of breaking down. This tendency was increased by the 
sight of the house of the director of the workhouse. He was 
shown over it. Everything in it was new and magnificent, 
and he was told the price of every article of furniture. But 
Julien detected a certain element of sordidness, which smacked 
of stolen money into the bargain. Everybody in it, down 
to the servants, had the air of setting his face in advance 
against contempt. 

The collector of taxes, the superintendent of indirect taxes, 
the officer of gendarmerie, and two or three other public 
officials arrived with their wives. They were followed by some 
rich Liberals. Dinner was announced. It occurred to Julien, 
who was already feeling upset, that there were some poor 
prisoners on the other side of the dining-room wall, and that 
an illicit profit had perhaps been made over their rations 
of meat in order to purchase all that garish luxury with which 
they were trying to overwhelm him. 

" Perhaps they are hungry at this very minute," he said to 
himself. He felt a choking in his throat. He found it 
impossible to eat and almost impossible to speak. Matters 
became much worse a quarter of an hour afterwards; they 
heard in the distance some refrains of a popular song that 
was, it must be confessed, a little vulgar, which was being sung 
by one of the inmates. M. Valenod gave a look to one of his 
liveried servants who disappeared and soon there was no more 
singing to be heard. At that moment a valet offered Julien 



some Rhine wine in a green glass and Madame Valenod made 
a point of asking him to note that this wine cost nine francs a 
bottle in the market. Julien held up his green glass and said 
to M. Valenod. 

" They are not singing that wretched song any more." 

"Zounds, I should think not," answered the triumphant 
governor. " I have made the rascals keep quiet." 

These words were too much for Julien. He had the 
manners of his new position, but he had not yet assimilated 
its spirit. In spite of all his hypocrisy and its frequent practice, 
he felt a big tear drip down his cheek. 

He tried to hide it in the green glass, but he found it 
absolutely impossible to do justice to the Rhine wine. " Pre- 
venting singing he said to himself: Oh, my God, and you 
suffer it." 

Fortunately nobody noticed his ill-bred emotion. The 
collector of taxes had struck up a royalist song. " So this," 
reflected Julien's conscience during the hubbub of the refrain 
which was sung in chorus, " is the sordid prosperity which you 
will eventually reach, and you will only enjoy it under these 
conditions and in company like this. You will, perhaps, have 
a post worth twenty thousand francs; but while you gorge 
yourself on meat, you will have to prevent a poor prisoner from 
singing ; you will give dinners with the money which you have 
stolen out of his miserable rations and during your dinners he 
will be still more wretched. Oh, Napoleon, how sweet it was 
to climb to fortune in your way through the dangers of a 
battle, but to think of aggravating the pain of the unfortunate 
in this cowardly way." 

I own that the weakness which Julien had been manifesting 
in this soliloquy gives me a poor opinion of him. He is 
worthy of being the accomplice of those kid-gloved conspirators 
who purport to change the whole essence of a great country's 
existence, without wishing to have on their conscience the 
most trivial scratch. 

Julien was sharply brought back to his role. He had not 
been invited to dine in such good company simply to moon 
dreamily and say nothing. 

A retired manufacturer of cotton prints, a corresponding 
member of the Academy of Besan9on and of that of Uzes, 
spoke to him from the other end of the table and asked him 


if what was said everywhere about his astonishing progress in 
the study of the New Testament was really true. 

A profound silence was suddenly inaugurated. A New 
Testament in Latin was found as though by magic in the 
possession of the learned member of the two Academies. 
After Julien had answered, part of a sentence in Latin was 
read at random. Julien then recited. His memory proved 
faithful and the prodigy was admired with all the boisterous 
energy of the end of dinner. Julien looked at the flushed 
faces of the ladies. A good many were not so plain. He 
recognised the wife of the collector, who was a fine singer. 

" I am ashamed, as a matter of fact, to talk Latin so long 
before these ladies," he said, turning his eyes on her. " If M. 
Rubigneau," that was the name of the member of the two 
Academies, " will be kind enough to read a Latin sentence at 
random instead of answering by following the Latin text, I will 
try to translate it impromptu." This second test completed his 

Several Liberals were there, who, though rich, were none 
the less the happy fathers of children capable of obtaining 
scholarships, and had consequently been suddenly converted 
at the last mission. In spite of this diplomatic step, M. de 
Renal had never been willing to receive them in his house. 
These worthy people, who only knew Julien by name and from 

having seen him on horseback on the day of the king of 's 

entry, were his most noisy admirers. " When will those 
fools get tired of listening to this Biblical language, which they 
don't understand in the least," he thought. But, on the 
contrary, that language amused them by its strangeness and 
made them smile. But Julien got tired. 

As six o'clock struck he got up gravely and talked about a 
chapter in Ligorio's New Theology which he had to learn by 
heart to recite on the following day to M. Chelan, " for," he 
added pleasantly, " my business is to get lessons said by heart 
to me, and to say them by heart myself." 

There was much laughter and admiration ; such is the kind 
of wit which is customary in Verrieres. Julien had already got 
up and in spite of etiquette everybody got up as well, so great 
is the dominion exercised by genius. Madame Valenod kept 
him for another quarter of an hour. He really must hear her 
children recite their catechisms. They made the most absurd 


mistakes which he alone noticed. He was careful not to point 
them out. " What ignorance of the first principles of religion," 
he thought. Finally he bowed and thought he could get away ; 
but they insisted on his trying a fable of La Fontaine. 

" That author is quite immoral," said Julien to Madame 
Valenod. A certain fable on Messire Jean Chouart dares to pour 
ridicule on all that we hold most venerable. He is shrewdly 
blamed by the best commentators. Before Julien left he received 
four or five invitations to dinner. " This young man is an honour 
to the department," cried all the guests in chorus. They even 
went so far as to talk of a pension voted out of the municipal 
funds to put him in the position of continuing his studies at Paris. 

While this rash idea was resounding through the dining- 
room Julien had swiftly reached the front door. "You scum, 
you scum," he cried, three or four times in succession in a low 
voice as he indulged in the pleasure of breathing in the fresh air. 

He felt quite an aristocrat at this moment, though he was 
the very man who had been shocked for so long a period by 
the haughty smile of disdainful superiority which he detected 
behind all the courtesies addressed to him at M. de Renal's. 
He could not help realising the extreme difference. Why let 
us even forget the fact of its being money stolen from the 
poor inmates, he said to himself as he went away, let us forget 
also their stopping the singing. M. de Renal would never 
think of telling his guests the price of each bottle of wine 
with which he regales them, and as for this M. Valenod, and 
his chronic cataloguing of his various belongings, he cannot 
talk of his house, his estate, etc., in the presence of his wife 
without saying, " Your house, your estate." 

This lady, who was apparently so keenly alive to the delights 
of decorum, had just had an awful scene during the dinner 
with a servant who had broken a wine-glass and spoilt one of 
her dozens ; and the servant too had answered her back with 
the utmost insolence. 

"What a collection," said Julien to himself; "I would not 
live like they do were they to give me half of all they steal. I 
shall give myself away one fine day. I should not be able to 
restrain myself from expressing the disgust with which they 
inspire one." 

It was necessary, however, to obev Madame de Renal's in 


junction and be present at several dinners of the same kind. 
Julien was the fashion ; he was forgiven his Guard of Honour 
uniform, or rather that indiscretion was the real cause of his 
successes. Soon the only question in Verrieres was whether 
M. de Renal or M. the director of the workhouse would be the 
victor in the struggle for the clever young man. These 
gentlemen formed, together with M. Maslon, a triumirate which 
had tyrannised over the town for a number of years. People 
were jealous of the mayor, and the Liberals had good cause for 
complaint, but, after all, he was noble and born for a superior 
position, while M. Valenod's father had not left him six hundred 
francs a year. His career had necessitated a transition from 
pitying the shabby green suit which had been so notorious in 
his youth, to envying the Norman horses, his gold chains, his 
Paris clothes, his whole present prosperity. 

Julien thought that he had discovered one honest man in 
the whirlpool of this novel world. He was a geometrist named 
Gros, and had the reputation of being a Jacobin. Julien, 
who had vowed to say nothing but that which he disbelieved 
himself, was obliged to watch himself carefully when speaking 
to M. Gros. He received big packets of exercises from Vergy. 
He was advised to visit his father frequently, and he fulfilled 
his unpleasant duty. In a word he was patching his reputation 
together pretty well, when he was thoroughly surprised to find 
himself woken up one morning by two hands held over his 

It was Madame de Renal who had made a trip to the town, 
and who, running up the stairs four at a time while she left her 
children playing with a pet rabbit, had reached Julien's room 
a moment before her sons. This moment was delicious but 
very short : Madame de Renal had disappeared when the 
children arrived with the rabbit which they wanted to show to 
their friend. Julien gave them all a hearty welcome, including 
the rabbit. He seemed at home again. He felt that he loved 
these children and that he enjoyed gossiping with them. He 
was astonished at the sweetness of their voices, at the simplicity 
and dignity of their little ways ; he felt he needed to purge his 
imagination of all the vulgar practices and all the unpleasant- 
nesses among which he had been living in Verrieres. For 
there everyone was always frightened of being scored off, and 
luxury and poverty were at daggers drawn. 


The people with whom he would dine would enter into 
confidences over the joint which were as humiliating for 
themselves as they were nauseating to the hearer. 

" You others, who are nobles, you are right to be proud," he 
said to Madame de Renal, as he gave her an account of all 
the dinners which he had put up with. 

" You're the fashion then," and she laughed heartily as she 
thought of the rouge which Madame Valenod thought herself 
obliged to put on each time she expected Julien. " I think 
she has designs on your heart," she added. 

The breakfast was delicious. The presence of the children, 
though apparently embarrassing, increased as a matter of fact 
the happiness of the party. The poor children did not know 
how to give expression to the joy at seeing Julien again. The 
servants had not failed to tell them that he had been offered 
two hundred francs a year more to educate the little 

Stanislas-Xavier, who was still pale from his illness, suddenly 
asked his mother in the middle of the breakfast, the value of 
his silver cover and of the goblet in which he was drinking. 

" Why do you want to know that ? " 

" I want to sell them to give the price to M. Julien so that 
he shan't be done if he stays with us." 

Julien kissed him with tears in his eyes. His mother wept 
unrestrainedly, for Julien took Stanislas on his knees and 
explained to him that he should not use the word " done " 
which, when employed in that meaning was an expression only 
fit for the servants' hall. Seeing the pleasure which he was 
giving to Madame de Renal, he tried to explain the meaning 
of being " done " by picturesque illustrations which amused 
the children. 

" I understand," said Stanislas, " it's like the crow who is 
silly enough to let his cheese fall and be taken by the fox who 
has been playing the flatterer." 

Madame de Renal felt mad with joy and covered her 
children with kisses, a process which involved her leaning a 
little on Julien. 

Suddenly the door opened. It was M. de Renal. His 
severe and discontented expression contrasted strangely with 
the sweet joy which his presence dissipated. Madame de 
Renal grew pale, she felt herself incapable of denying anything. 


Julien seized command of the conversation and commenced 
telling M. the mayor in a loud voice the incident of the silver 
goblet which Stanislas wanted to sell. He was quite certain 
this story would not be appreciated. M. de Renal first of 
all frowned mechanically at the mere mention of money. 
Any allusion to that mineral, he was accustomed to say, is 
always a prelude to some demand made upon my purse. But 
this was something more than a mere money matter. His 
suspicions were increased. The air of happiness which 
animated his family during his absence was not calculated to 
smooth matters over with a man who was a prey to so touchy 
a vanity. " Yes, yes," he said, as his wife started to praise to 
him the combined grace and cleverness of the way in which 
Julien gave ideas to his pupils. " I know, he renders me 
hateful to my own children. It is easy enough for him to 
make himself a hundred times more loveable to them than 
I am myself, though after all, I am the master. In this 
century everything tends to make legitimate authority un- 
popular. Poor France ! " 

Madame de Renal had not stopped to examine the fine 
shades of the welcome which her husband gave her. She 
had just caught a glimpse of the possibility of spending twelve 
hours with Julien. She had a lot of purchases to make in 
the town and declared that she positively insisted in going to 
dine at the tavern. She stuck to her idea in spite of all 
her husband's protests and remonstrances. The children were 
delighted with the mere word tavern, which our modern 
prudery denounces with so much gusto. 

M. de Renal left his wife in the first draper's shop which 
she entered and went to. pay some visits. He came back 
more morose than he had been in the morning. He was 
convinced that the whole town was busy with himself and 
Julien. As a matter of fact no one had yet given him any 
inkling as to the more offensive part of the public gossip. 
Those items which had been repeated to M. the mayor dealt 
exclusively with the question of whether Julien would remain 
with him with six hundred francs, or would accept the eight 
hundred francs offered by M. the director of the workhouse. 

The director, when he met M. de Renal in society, gave 
him the cold shoulder. These tactics were not without 
cleverness. There is no impulsiveness in the provinces. 


Sensations are so rare there that they are never allowed to be 

M. le Valenod was what is called a hundred miles from Paris 
n/araud; that means a coarse imprudent type of man. His 
triumpha nt existence since 1815 had consolidated his natural 
qualities. He reigned, so to say, in Verrieres subject to the 
orders of M. de Renal; but as he was much more energetic, 
was ashamed of nothing, had a finger in everything, and was 
always going about writing and speaking, and was oblivious of 
all snubs, he had, although without any personal pretensions, 
eventually come to equal the mayor in reputation in the eyes 
of the ecclesiastical authorities. M. Valenod had, as it were, 
said to the local tradesmen " Give me the two biggest fools 
among your number;" to the men of law "Show me the two 
greatest dunces ; " to the sanitary officials " Point out to me 
the two biggest charlatans." When he had thus collected the 
most impudent members of each separate calling, he had 
practically said to them, " Let us reign together." 

The manners of those people were offensive to M. de 
Renal. The coarseness of Valenod took offence at nothing, 
not even the frequency with which the little abbe Maslon 
would give the lie to him in public. 

But in the middle of all this prosperity M. Valenod found 
it necessary to reassure himself by a number of petty acts of 
insolence on the score of the crude truths which he well 
realised that everybody was justified in addressing to him. 
His activity had redoubled since the fears which the visit of 
M. Appert had left him. He had made three journeys to 
Besancon. He wrote several letters by each courier; he 
sent others by unknown men who came to his house at night- 
fall. Perhaps he had been wrong in securing the dismissal 
of the old cure Chelan. For this piece of vindictiveness had 
resulted in his being considered an extremely malicious man 
by several pious women of good birth. Besides, the render- 
ing of this service had placed him in absolute dependence on 
M. the Grand Vicar de Frilair from whom he received some 
strange commissions. He had reached this point in his 
intrigues when he had yielded to the pleasure of writing an 
anonymous letter, and thus increasing his embarrassment. His 
wife declared to him that she wanted to have Julien in her 
house; her vanity was intoxicated with the idea. 


Such being his position M. Valenod imagined in advance 
a decisive scene with his old colleague M. de Renal. The 
latter might address to him some harsh words, which he 
would not mind much ; but he might write to Besancon and 
even to Paris. Some minister's cousin might suddenly fall 
down on Verrieres and take over the workhouse. Valenod 
thought of coming to terms with the Liberals. It was for 
that purpose that several of them had been invited to the 
dinner when Julien was present. He would have obtained 
powerful support against the mayor but the elections might 
supervene, and it was only too evident that the directorship 
of the workhouse was inconsistent with voting on the wrong 
side. Madame de Renal had made a shrewd guess at this 
intrigue, and while she explained it to Julien as he gave her 
his arm to pass from one shop to another, they found them- 
selves gradually taken as far as the Cours de la Fidelite where 
they spent several hours nearly as tranquil as those at 

At the same time M. Valenod was trying to put off a definite 
crisis with his old patron by himself assuming the aggressive. 
These tactics succeeded on this particular day, but aggravated 
the mayor's bad temper. Never has vanity at close grips 
with all the harshness and meanness of a pettifogging love of 
money reduced a man to a more sorry condition than that 
of M. de Renal when he entered the tavern. The children, 
on the other hand, had never been more joyful and more 
merry. This contrast put the finishing touch on his pique. 

" So far as I can see I am not wanted in my family," he 
said as he entered in a tone which he meant to be impressive. 

For answer, his wife took him on one side and declared 
that it was essential to send Julien away. The hours of 
happiness which she had just enjoyed had given her again the 
ease and firmness of demeanour necessary to follow out the 
plan of campaign which she had been hatching for a fortnight. 
The finishing touch to the trouble of the poor mayor of 
Verrieres was the fact that he knew that they joked publicly 
in the town about his love for cash. Valenod was as generous 
as a thief, and on his side had acquitted himself brilliantly in 
the last five or six collections for the Brotherhood of St. 
Joseph, the congregation of the Virgin, the congregation of 
the Holy Sacrament, etc., etc. 


M. de Renal's name had been seen more than once at the 
bottom of the list of gentlefolk of Verrieres, and the surround- 
ing neighbourhood who were adroitly classified in the list of 
the collecting brethren according to the amount of their 
offerings. It was in vain that he said that he was not making 
money. The clergy stands no nonsense in such matters. 



II piacere di alzar la testa tutto l'anno, e ben pagato da 
certi quarti d'ora che bisogna passar. Casti. 

Let us leave this petty man to his petty fears ; why aid he 
take a man of spirit into his household when he needed some- 
one with the soul of a valet? Why can't he select his staff? 
The ordinary trend of the nineteenth century is that when a 
noble and powerful individual encounters a man of spirit, he 
kills him, exiles him and imprisons him, or so humiliates him 
that the other is foolish enough to die of grief. In this 
country it so happens that it is not merely the man of spirit 
who suffers. The great misfortunes of the little towns of France 
and of representative governments, like that of New York, is 
that they find it impossible to forget the existence of 
individuals like M. de Renal. It is these men who make 
public opinion in a town of twenty thousand inhabitants, and 
public opinion is terrible in a country which has a charter of 
liberty. A man, though of a naturally noble and generous 
disposition, who would have been your friend in the natural 
course of events, but who happens to live a hundred leagues 
off, judges you by the public opinion of your town which is 
made by those fools who have chanced to be born noble, rich 
and conservative. Unhappy is the man who distinguishes 

Immediately after dinner they left for Vergy, but the next 
day but one Julien saw the whole family return to Verrieres. 
An hour had not passed before he discovered to his great 
surprise that Madame de Renal had some mystery up her 
sleeve. Whenever he came into the room she would break 
off her conversation with her husband and would almost seem 


to desire that he should go away. Julien did not need to 
be given this hint twice. He became cold and reserved. 
Madame de Renal noticed it and did not ask for an explana- 
tion. " Is she going to give me a successor," thought Julien. 
" And to think of her being so familiar with me the day before 
yesterday, but that is how these great ladies are said to act. 
It's just like kings. One never gets any more warning than 
the disgraced minister who enters his house to find his letter 
of dismissal." Julien noticed that these conversations which 
left off so abruptly at his approach, often dealt with a big 
house which belonged to the municipality of Verrieres, a 
house which though old was large and commodious and 
situated opposite the church in the most busy commercial 
district of the town. " What connection can there be between 
this house and a new lover," said Julien to himself. In his 
chagrin he repeated to himself the pretty verses of Francis I. 
which seemed novel to him, for Madame de Renal had only 
taught him them a month before : 

Souvent femme varie 
Bien fol est qui s'y fie. 

M. de Renal took the mail to Besancon. This journey was 
a matter of two hours. He seemed extremely harassed. On 
his return he threw a big grey paper parcel on the table. 

" Here's that silly business," he said to his wife. An hour 
afterwards Julien saw the bill-poster carrying the big parcel. 
He followed him eagerly. " I shall learn the secret at the 
first street corner." He waited impatiently behind the bill- 
poster who was smearing the back of the poster with his big 
brush. It had scarcely been put in its place before Julien's 
curiosity saw the detailed announcement of the putting up for 
public auction of that big old house whose name had figured 
so frequently in M. de Renal's conversations with his wife. 
The auction of the lease was announced for to-morrow at two 
o'clock in the Town Hall after the extinction of the third fire. 
Julien was very disappointed. He found the time a little 
short. How could there be time to apprise all the other 
would-be purchasers. But, moreover, the bill, which was dated 
a fortnight back, and which he read again in its entirety in 
three distinct places, taught him nothing. 


He went to visit the house which was to let. The porter, 
who had not seen him approach, was saying mysteriously to a 
neighbour : 

"Pooh, pooh, waste of time. M. Maslon has promised 
him that he shall have it for three hundred francs ; and, as the 
mayor kicked, he has been summoned to the bishop's palace 
by M. the Grand Vicar de Frilair." 

Julien's arrival seemed very much to disconcert the two 
friends who did not say another word. Julien made a point 
of being present at the auction of the lease. 

There was a crowd in the badly-lighted hall, but everybody 
kept quizzing each other in quite a singular way. All eyes 
were fixed on a table where Julien perceived three little lighted 
candle-ends on a tin plate. The usher was crying out "Three 
hundred francs, gentlemen." 

" Three hundred francs, that's a bit too thick," said a man 
to his neighbour in a low voice. Julien was between the two 
of them. "It's worth more than eight hundred, I will raise the 
bidding," " It's cutting off your nose to spite your face. 
What will you gain by putting M. Maslon, M. Valenod, the 
Bishop, this terrible Grand Vicar de Frilair and the whole 
gang on your track." 

" Three hundred and twenty francs," shouted out the other. 

" Damned brute," answered his neighbour. " Why here 
we have a spy of the mayor," he added, designating Julien. 

Julien turned sharply round to punish this remark, but the 
two, Franc-comtois, were no longer paying any attention to 
him. Their coolness gave him back his own. At that moment 
the last candle-end went out and the usher's drawling voice 
awarded the house to M. de St. Giraud of the office of the 

prefecture of for a term of nine years and for a rent of 

320 francs. 

As soon as the mayor had left the hall, the gossip began again. 

" Here's thirty francs that Grogeot's recklessness is landing 
the municipality in for," said one " But," answered another, 
" M. de Saint Giraud will revenge himself on Grogeot." 

"How monstrous," said a big man on Julien's left. "A 
house which I myself would have given eight hundred francs 
for my factory, and I would have got a good bargain." 

" Pooh ! " answered a young manufacturer, " doesn't M. de 
St. Giraud belong to the congregation? Haven't his four 


children got scholarships ? poor man ! The community of 
Verrieres must give him five hundred francs over and above 
his salary, that is all." 

"And to say that the mayor was not able to stop it," 
remarked a third. " For he's an ultra he is, I'm glad to say, 
but he doesn't steal." 

" Doesn't he ? " answered another. " Suppose it's simply 
a mere game of ' snap ' * then. Everything goes into a big 
common purse, and everything is divided up at the end of 
the year. But here's that little Sorel, let's go away." 

Julien got home in a very bad temper. He found Madame 
de Renal very sad. 

"You come from the auction ? " she said to him. 
" Yes, madam, where I had the honour of passing for a spy 
of M. the Mayor." 

" If he had taken my advice, he would have gone on a 

At this moment Monsieur de Renal appeared : he looked 
very dismal. The dinner passed without a single word. 
Monsieur de Renal ordered Julien to follow the children to 

Madame de Renal endeavoured to console her husband. 
" You ought to be used to it, my dear." 
That evening they were seated in silence around the 
domestic hearth. The crackle of the burnt pinewood was 
their only distraction. It was one of those moments of silence 
which happen in the most united families. One of the 
children cried out gaily, 

" Somebody's ringing, somebody's ringing ! " 
" Zounds ! supposing it's Monsieur de Saint Giraud who has 
come under the pretext of thanking me," exclaimed the mayor. 
" I will give him a dressing down. It is outrageous. It is 
Valenod to whom he'll feel under an obligation, and it is I 
who get compromised. What shall I say if those damned 
Jacobin journalists get hold of this anecdote, and turn me 
into a M. Nonante Cinque." 

A very good-looking man, with big black whiskers, entered 
at this moment, preceded by the servant. 

" Monsieur the mayor, I am Signor Geronimo. Here is a 

* C'est pigeon qui vole. A reference to a contemporary animal game 
with a pun on the word " vole." 


letter which M. the Chevalier de Beauvaisis, who is attached 
to the Embassy of Naples, gave me for you on my departure. 
That is only nine days ago, added Signor Geronimo, gaily 
looking at Madame de Renal. Your cousin, and my good 
friend, Signor de Beauvaisis says that you know Italian, 

The Neapolitan's good humour changed this gloomy even- 
ing into a very gay one. Madame de Renal insisted upon 
giving him supper. She put the whole house on the go. She 
wanted to free Julien at any price from the imputation of 
espionage which she had heard already twice that day. 

Signor Geronimo was an excellent singer, excellent company, 
and had very gay qualities which, at any rate in France, are 
hardly compatible with each other. After dinner he sang a 
little duet with Madame de Renal, and told some charming 
tales. At one o'clock in the morning the children protested, 
when Julien suggested that they should go to bed. 

" Another of those stories," said the eldest. 

" It is my own, Signorino," answered Signor Geronimo. 

"Eight years ago I was, like you, a young pupil of the 
Naples Conservatoire. I mean I was your age, but I did not 
have the honour to be the son of the distinguished mayor of 
the pretty town of Verrieres." This phrase made M. de Renal 
sigh, and look at his wife. 

" Signor Zingarelli," continued the young singer, somewhat 
exaggerating his action, and thus making the children burst 
into laughter, "Signor Zingarelli was an excellent though 
severe master. He is, not popular at the Conservatoire, but 
he insists on the pretence being kept up that he is. I went 
out as often as I could. I used to go to the little Theatre de 
San Carlino, where I used to hear divine music. But heavens ! 
the question was to scrape together the eight sous which were 
the price of admission to the parterre ? An enormous sum," 
he said, looking at the children and watching them laugh. 
"Signor Giovannone, director of the San Carlino, heard 
me sing. I was sixteen. 'That child is a treasure,' he 

" ' Would you like me to engage you, my dear boy ? ' he 

" And how much will you give me ? ' 

" * Forty ducats a month.' That is one hundred and sixty 


francs, gentlemen. I thought the gates of heaven had 

" ' But,' I said to Giovannone, ' how shall I get the strict 
Zingarelli to let me go out ? ' 

" ' Lascia fare a me? " 

" Leave it to me," exclaimed the eldest of the children. 

" Quite right, my young sir. Signor Giovannone he says to 
me, ' First sign this little piece of paper, my dear friend.' I 

" He gives me three ducats. I had never seen so much 
money. Then he told me what I had to do. 

" Next day I asked the terrible Zingarelli for an audience. 
His old valet ushered me in. 

" ' What do you want of me, you naughty boy ? ' said 

" ' Maestro,' I said, ' I repent of all my faults. I will never 
go out of the Conservatoire by passing through the iron grill. 
I will redouble my diligence.' 

" ' If I were not frightened of spoiling the finest bass voice 
I have ever heard, I would put you in prison for a fortnight 
on bread and water, you rascal.' 

" ' Maestro,' I answered, ' I will be the model boy of the 
whole school, credete a me, but I would ask one favour of you. 
If anyone comes and asks permission for me to sing outside, 
refuse. As a favour, please say that you cannot let me.' 

" ' And who the devil do you think is going to ask for a 
ne'er-do-well like you ? Do you think I should ever allow you 
to leave the Conservatoire? Do you want to make fun of 
me ? Clear out ! Clear out ! ' he said, trying to give me a 
kick, or look out for prison and dry bread.' " 

One thing astonished Julien. The solitary weeks passed at 
Verrieres in de Renal's house had been a period of happiness 
for him. He had only experienced revulsions and sad thoughts 
at the dinners to which he had been invited. And was he 
not able to read, write and reflect, without being distracted, in 
this solitary house ? He was not distracted every moment 
from his brilliant reveries by the cruel necessity of studying 
the movement of a false soul in order to deceive it by intrigue 
and hypocrisy. 

" To think of happiness being so near to me the 
expense of a life like that is small enough. I could have my 


choice of either marrying Mademoiselle Elisa or of entering 
into partnership with Fouque. But it is only the traveller who 
has just scaled a steep mountain and sits down on the summit 
who finds a perfect pleasure in resting. Would he be happy 
if he had to rest all the time ? " 

Madame de Renal's mind had now reached a state of 
desperation. In spite of her resolutions, she had explained to 
Julien all the details of the auction. " He will make me 
forget all my oaths ! " she thought. 

She would have sacrificed her life without hesitation to save 
that of her husband if she had seen him in danger. She was 
one of those noble, romantic souls who find a source of 
perpetual remorse equal to that occasioned by the actual 
perpetration of a crime, in seeing the possibility of a generous 
action and not doing it. None the less, there were deadly 
days when she was not able to banish the imagination of the 
excessive happiness which she would enjoy if she suddenly 
became a widow, and were able to marry julien. 

He loved her sons much more than their father did ; in spite 
of his strict justice they were devoted to him. She quite 
realised that if she married Julien, it would be necessary to 
leave that Vergy, whose shades were so dear to her. She 
pictured herself living at Paris, and continuing to give her 
sons an education which would make them admired by every- 
one. Her children, herself, and Julien ! They would be all 
perfectly happy ! 

Strange result of marriage such as the nineteenth century 
has made it ! The boredom of matrimonial life makes love 
fade away inevitably, when love has preceded the marriage. 
But none the less, said a philosopher, married life soon reduces 
those people who are sufficiently rich not to have to work, to 
a sense of being utterly bored by all quiet enjoyments. And 
among women, it is only arid souls whom it does not pre- 
dispose to love. 

The philosopher's reflection makes me excuse Madame de 
Renal, but she was not excused in Verrieres, and without her 
suspecting it, the whole town found its sole topic of interest in 
the scandal of her intrigue. As a result of this great affair, 
the autumn was less boring than usual. 

The autumn and part of the winter passed very quickly. It 
was necessary to leave the woods of Vergy. Good Verrieres 



society began to be indignant at the fact that its anathemas 
made so little impression on Monsieur de Renal. Within 
eight days, several serious personages who made up for their 
habitual gravity of demeanour by their pleasure in fulfilling 
missions of this kind, gave him the most cruel suspicions, at 
the same time utilising the most measured terms. 

M. Valenod, who was playing a deep game, had placed Elisa 
in an aristocratic family of great repute, where there were five 
women. Elisa, fearing, so she said, not to find a place during 
the winter, had only asked from this family about two-thirds of 
what she had received in the house of the mayor. The girl 
hit upon the excellent idea of going to confession at the same 
time to both the old cure Chelan, and also to the new one, so 
as to tell both of them in detail about Julien's amours. 

The day after his arrival, the abbe Chelan summoned Julien 
to him at six o'clock in the morning. 

" I ask you nothing," he said. " I beg you, and if needs 
be I insist, that you either leave for the Seminary of Besancon, 
or for your friend Fouque, who is always ready to provide you 
with a splendid future. I have seen to everything and have 
arranged everything, but you must leave, and not come back 
to Verrieres for a year." 

Julien did not answer. He was considering whether his 
honour ought to regard itself offended at the trouble which 
Chelan, who, after all, was not his father, had taken on his 

" I shall have the honour of seeing you again to-morrow at 
the same hour," he said finally to the cure. 

Chelan, who reckoned on carrying so young a man by 
storm, talked a great deal. Julien, cloaked in the most 
complete humbleness, both of demeanour and expression, did 
not open his lips. 

Eventually he left, and ran to warn Madame de Renal 
whom he found in despair. Her husband had just spoken to 
her with a certain amount of frankness. The weakness of his 
character found support in the prospect of the legacy, and had 
decided him to treat her as perfectly innocent. He had just 
confessed to her the strange state in which he had found 
public opinion in Verrieres. The public was wrong ; it had 
been misled by jealous tongues. But, after all, what was one 
to do? 


Madame de Renal was, for the moment, under the illusion 
that Julien would accept the offer of Valenod and stay at 
Verrieres. But she was no longer the simple, timid woman 
that she had been the preceding year. Her fatal passion and 
remorse had enlightened her. She soon realised the painful 
truth (while at the same time she listened to her husband), 
that at any rate a temporary separation had become essential. 

When he is far from me, Julien will revert to those 
ambitious projects which are so natural when one has no 
money. And I, Great God ! I am so rich, and my riches 
are so useless for my happiness. He will forget me. Love- 
able as he is, he will be loved, and he will love. You unhappy 
woman. What can I complain of ? Heaven is just. I was 
not virtuous enough to leave off the crime. Fate robs me of 
my judgment. I could easily have bribed Elisa if I had 
wanted to ; nothing was easier. I did not take the trouble to 
reflect for a moment. The mad imagination of love absorbed 
all my time. I am ruined. 

When Julien apprised Madame de Renal of the terrible 
news of his departure, he was struck with one thing. He did 
not find her put forward any selfish objections. She was 
evidently making efforts not to cry. 

"We have need of firmness, my dear." She cut off a 
strand of her hair. " I do no know what I shall do," she 
said to him, " but promise me if I die, never to forget my 
children. Whether you are far or near, try to make them 
into honest men. If there is a new revolution, all the nobles 
will have their throats cut. Their father will probably emigrate, 
because of that peasant on the roof who got killed. Watch 
over my family. Give me your hand. Adieu, my dear. 
These are our last moments. Having made this great sacrifice, 
I hope I shall have the courage to consider my reputation in 

Julien had been expecting despair. The simplicity of this 
farewell touched him. 

" No, I am not going to receive your farewell like this. I 
will leave you now, as you yourself wish it. But three days 
after my departure I will come back to see you at night." 

Madame de Renal's life was changed. So Julien really 
loved her, since of his own accord he had thought of seeing 
her again. Her awful grief became changed into one of the 


keenest transports of joy which she had felt in her whole life. 
Everything became easy for her. The certainty of seeing 
her lover deprived these last moments of their poignancy. 
From that moment, both Madame de Renal's demeanour and 
the expression of her face were noble, firm, and perfectly 

M. de Renal soon came back. He was beside himself. 
He eventually mentioned to his wife the anonymous letter 
which he had received two months before. 

" I will take it to the Casino, and shew everybody that it 
has been sent by that brute Valenod, whom I took out of the 
gutter and made into one of the richest tradesmen in Verrieres. 
I will disgrace him publicly, and then I will fight him. This 
is too much." 

" Great Heavens ! I may become a widow," thought 
Madame de Renal, and almost at the same time she said to 

" If I do not, as I certainly can, prevent this duel, I shall be 
the murderess of my own husband." 

She had never expended so much skill in honoring his 
vanity. Within two hours she made him see, and always by 
virtue of reasons which he discovered himself, that it was 
necessary to show more friendship than ever to M. Valenod, 
and even to take Elisa back into the household. 

Madame de Renal had need of courage to bring herself to 
see again the girl who was the cause of her unhappiness. 
But this idea was one of Julien's. Finally, having been put 
on the track three or four times, M. de Renal arrived spon- 
taneously at the conclusion, disagreeable though it was from 
the financial standpoint, that the most painful thing that could 
happen to him would be that Julien, in the middle of the 
effervescence of popular gossip throughout Verrieres, should 
stay in the town as the tutor of Valenod's children. It was 
obviously to Julien's interest to accept the offer of the director 
of the workhouse. Conversely, it was essential for M. de 
Renal's prestige that Julien should leave Verrieres to enter the 
seminary of Besancon or that of Dijon. But how to make 
him decide on that course? And then how is he going to 

M. de Renal, seeing a monetary sacrifice looming in the 
distance, was in deeper despair than his wife. As for her, 


she felt after this interview in the position of a man of spirit 
who, tired of life, has taken a dose of stramonium. He only 
acts mechanically so to speak, and takes no longer any interest 
in anything. In this way, Louis XIV. came to say on his 
deathbed, " When I was king." An admirable epigram. 

Next morning, M. de Renal received quite early an anony- 
mous letter. It was written in a most insulting style, and the 
coarsest words applicable to his position occurred on every 
line. It was the work of some jealous subordinate. This 
letter made him think again of fighting a duel with Valenod. 
Soon his courage went as far as the idea of immediate action. 
He left the house alone, went to the armourer's and got some 
pistols which he loaded. 

" Yes, indeed," he said to himself, " even though the strict 
administration of the Emperor Napoleon were to become 
fashionable again, I should not have one sou's worth of jobbery 
to reproach myself with ; at the outside, I have shut my eyes, 
and I have some good letters in my desk which authorise me 
to do so. 

Madame de Renal was terrified by her husband's cold anger. 
It recalled to her the fatal idea of widowhood which she had 
so much trouble in repelling. She closeted herself with him. 
For several hours she talked to him in vain. The new anony- 
mous letter had decided him. Finally she succeeded in trans- 
forming the courage which had decided him to box Valenod's 
ears, into the courage of offering six hundred francs to Julien, 
which would keep him for one year in a seminary. 

M. de Renal cursed a thousand times the day that he had 
had the ill-starred idea of taking a tutor into his house, and 
forgot the anonymous letter. 

He consoled himself a little by an idea which he did not 
tell his wife. With the exercise of some skill, and by ex- 
ploiting the romantic ideas of the young man, he hoped to be 
able to induce him to refuse M. Valenod's offer at a cheaper 

Madame de Renal had much more trouble in proving to 
Julien that inasmuch as he was sacrificing the post of six 
hundred francs a year in order to enable her husband to keep 
up appearances, he need have no shame about accepting the 
compensation. But Julien would say each time, " I have 
never thought for a moment of accepting that offer. You 


have made me so used to a refined life that the coarseness of 
those people would kill me." 

Cruel necessity bent Julien's will with its iron hand. His 
pride gave him the illusion that he only accepted the sum 
offered by M. de Renal as a loan, and induced him to give 
him a promissory note, repayable in five years with interest. 

Madame de Renal had, of course, many thousands of francs 
which had been concealed in the little mountain cave. 

She offered them to him all a tremble, feeling only too keenly 
that they would be angrily refused. 

" Do you wish," said Julien to her, " to make the memory 
of our love loathsome ? " 

Finally Julien left Verrieres. M. de Renal was very happy, 
but when the fatal moment came to accept money from him 
the sacrifice proved beyond Julien's strength. He refused 
point blank. M. de Renal embraced him around the neck 
with tears in his eyes. Julien had asked him for a testimonial 
of good conduct, and his enthusiasm could find no terms 
magnificent enough in which to extol his conduct. 

Our hero had five louis of savings and he reckoned on ask- 
ing Fouque for an equal sum. 

He was very moved. But one league from Verrieres, where 
he left so much that was dear to him, he only thought of the 
happiness of seeing the capital of a great military town like 

During the short absence of three days, Madame de Renal 
was the victim of one of the cruellest deceptions to which love 
is liable. Her life was tolerable, because between her and 
extreme unhappiness there was still that last interview which 
she was to have with Julien. 

Finally during the night of the third day, she heard from 
a distance the preconcerted signal. Julien, having passed 
through a thousand dangers, appeared before her. In this 
moment she only had one thought " I see him for the last 
time." Instead of answering the endearments of her lover, 
she seemed more dead than alive. If she forced herself 
to tell him that she loved him, she said it with an em- 
barrassed air which almost proved the contrary. Nothing 
could rid her of the cruel idea of eternal separation. 
The suspicious Julien thought for the moment that he was 
already forgotten. His pointed remarks to this effect were 


only answered by great tears which flowed down in silence, 
and by some hysterical pressings of the hand. 

" But," Julien would answer his mistress's cold pro- 
testations, " Great Heavens ! How can you expect me to 
believe you? You would show one hundred times more 
sincere affection to Madame Derville to a mere acquaintance." 

Madame de Renal was petrified, and at a loss for an answer. 

" It is impossible to be more unhappy. I hope I am going 
to die. I feel my heart turn to ice." 

Those were the longest answers which he could obtain. 

When the approach of day rendered it necessary for him 
to leave Madame de Renal, her tears completely ceased. She 
saw him tie a knotted rope to the window without saying a 
word, and without returning her kisses. It was in vain that 
Julien said to her. 

" So now we have reached the state of affairs which you 
wished for so much. Henceforward you will live without 
remorse. The slightest indisposition of your children will no 
longer make you see them in the tomb." 

" I am sorry that you cannot kiss Stanislas," she said 

Julien finished by being profoundly impressed by the cold 
embraces of this living corpse. He could think of nothing 
else for several leagues. His soul was overwhelmed, and 
before passing the mountain, and while he could still see the 
church tower of Verrieres he turned round frequently. 



What a noise, what busy people I What ideas for the future in a 
brain of twenty ! What distraction offered by love. Barnave. 

Finally he saw some black walls near a distant mountain. It 
was the citadel of Besancon. " How different it would be for 
me," he said with a sigh, " if I were arriving at this noble 
military town to be sub-lieutenant in one of the regiments 
entrusted with its defence." Besancon is not only one of the 
prettiest towns in France, it abounds in people of spirit and 
brains. But Julien was only a little peasant, and had no means 
of approaching distinguished people. 

He had taken a civilian suit at Fouque's, and it was in this 
dress that he passed the drawbridge. Steeped as he was 
in the history of the siege of 1674, he wished to see the 
ramparts of the citadel before shutting himself up in the 
seminary. He was within an ace two or three times of getting 
himself arrested by the sentinel. He was penetrating into 
places which military genius forbids the public to enter, in 
order to sell twelve or fifteen francs worth of corn every year. 

The height of the walls, the depth of the ditches, the terrible 
aspect of the cannons had been engrossing him for several hours 
when he passed before the great cafe on the boulevard. He 
was motionless with wonder ; it was in vain that he read the 
word caf, written in big characters above the two immense 
doors. He could not believe his eyes. He made an effort 
to overcome his timidity. He dared to enter, and found him- 
self in a hall twenty or thirty yards long, and with a ceiling at 
least twenty feet high. To-day, everything had a fascination 
for him. 

Two games of billiards were in progress. The waiters were 
crying out the scores. The players ran round the tables en- 


cumbered by spectators. Clouds of tobacco smoke came 
from everybody's mouth, and enveloped them in a blue haze. 
The high stature of these men, their rounded shoulders, their 
heavy gait, their enormous whiskers, the long tailed coats 
which covered them, everything combined to attract Julien's 
attention. These noble childen of the antique Bisontium 
only spoke at the top of their voice. They gave themselves 
terrible martial airs. Julien stood still and admired them. 
He kept thinking of the immensity and magnificence of a 
great capital like Besancon. He felt absolutely devoid of the 
requisite courage to ask one of those haughty looking gentle- 
men, who were crying out the billiard scores, for a cup of 

But the young lady at the bar had noticed the charming 
face of this young civilian from the country, who had stopped 
three feet from the stove with his little parcel under his arm, 
and was looking at the fine white plaster bust of the king. 
This young lady, a big Franc-comtoise, very well made, and 
dressed with the elegance suitable to the prestige of the cafe, 
had already said two or three times in a little voice not in- 
tended to be heard by any one except Julien, " Monsieur, 
Monsieur." Julien's eyes encountered big blue eyes full of 
tenderness, and saw that he was the person who was being 
spoken to. 

He sharply approached the bar and the pretty girl, as 
though he had been marching towards the enemy. In this 
great manoeuvre the parcel fell. 

What pity will not our provincial inspire in the young lycee 
scholars of Paris, who, at the early age of fifteen, know already 
how to enter a cafe with so distinguished an air ? But these 
children who have such style at fifteen turn commonplace at 
eighteen. The impassioned timidity which is met with in the 
provinces, sometimes manages to master its own nervousness, 
and thus trains the will. " I must tell her the truth," thought 
Julien, who was becoming courageous by dint of conquering 
his timidity as he approached this pretty girl, who deigned 
to address him. 

" Madame, this is the first time in my life that I have come 
to Besancon. I should like to have some bread and a cup of 
coffee in return for payment." 

The young lady smiled a little, and then blushed. She 


feared the ironic attention and the jests of the billiard players 
might be turned against this pretty young man. He would 
be frightened and would not appear there again. 

" Sit here near me," she said to him, showing him a marble 
table almost completely hidden by the enormous mahogany 
counter which extended into the hall. 

The young lady leant over the counter, and had thus an 
opportunity of displaying a superb figure. Julien noticed it. 
All his ideas changed. The pretty young lady had just placed 
before him a cup, some sugar, and a little roll. She hesitated 
to call a waiter for the coffee, as she realised that his arrival 
would put an end to her tete-a-tete with Jul en 

Julien was pensively comparing this blonde and merry 
beauty with certain memories which would often thrill him. 
The thought of the passion of which he had been the object, 
nearly freed him from all his timidity. The pretty young 
woman had only one moment to save the situation. She read 
it in Julien's looks. 

"This pipe smoke makes you cough; come and have 
breakfast to-morrow before eight o'clock in the morning. I 
am practically alone then." 

" What is your name ? " said Julien, with the caressing smile 
of happy timidity. 

"Amanda Binet." 

"Will you allow me to send you within an hour's time a 
little parcel about as big as this ? " 

The beautiful Amanda reflected a little. 

" I am watched. What you ask may compromise me. All 
the same, I will write my address on a card, which you will 
put on your parcel. Send it boldly to me." 

" My name is Julien Sorel," said the young man. " I have 
neither relatives nor acquaintances at Besancon." 

" Ah, I understand," she said joyfully. " You come to 
study law." 

" Alas, no," answered Julien, " I am being sent to the 

The most complete discouragement damped Amanda's 
features. She called a waiter. She had courage now. The 
waiter poured out some coffee for Julien without looking 
at him. 

Amanda was receiving money at the counter. Julien was 


proud of having dared to speak : a dispute was going on at 
one of the billiard tables. The cries and the protests of the 
players resounded over the immense hall, and made a din 
which astonished Julien. Amanda was dreamy, and kept her 
eyes lowered. 

" If you like, Mademoiselle," he said to her suddenly with 
assurance, " I will say that I am your cousin." 

This little air of authority pleased Amanda. " He's not a 
mere nobody," she thought. She spoke to him very quickly, 
without looking at him, because her eye was occupied in seeing 
if anybody was coming near the counter. 

" I come from Genlis, near Dijon. Say that you are also 
from Genlis and are my mother's cousin." 

" I shall not fail to do so." 

" All the gentlemen who go to the Seminary pass here before 
the cafe every Thursday in the summer at five o'clock." 

" If you think of me when I am passing, have a bunch of 
violets in your hand." 

Amanda looked at him with an astonished air. This look 
changed Julien's courage into audacity. Nevertheless, he 
reddened considerably, as he said to her. " I feel that I love 
you with the most violent love." 

" Speak in lower tones," she said to him with a frightened 

Julien was trying to recollect phrases out of a volume of 
the Nouvelle Heloise which he had found at Vergy. His 
memory served him in good stead. For ten minutes he 
recited the Nouville Heloise to the delighted Mademoiselle 
Amanda. He was happy on the strength of his own bravery, 
when suddenly the beautiful Franc-contoise assumed an icy 
air. One of her lovers had appeared at the cafe door. He 
approached the bar, whistling, and swaggering his shoulders. 
He looked at Julien. The latter's imagination, which always 
indulged in extremes, suddenly brimmed over with ideas of a 
duel. He paled greatly, put down his cup, assumed an assured 
demeanour, and considered his rival very attentively. As 
this rival lowered his head, while he familiarly poured out on 
the counter a glass of brandy for himself, Amanda ordered 
Julien with a look to lower his eyes. He obeyed, and for two 
minutes kept motionless in his place, pale, resolute, and only 
j-hinking of what was going to happen. He was truly happy 


at this moment. The rival had been astonished by Julien's 
eyes. Gulping down his glass of brandy, he said a few words 
to Amanda, placed his two hands in the pockets of his big 
tail coat, and approached the billiard table, whistling, and 
looking at Julien. The latter got up transported with rage, 
but he did not know what to do in order to be offensive. He 
put down his little parcel, and walked towards the billiard 
table with all the swagger he could muster. 

It was in vain that prudence said to him, " but your 
ecclesiastical career will be ruined by a duel immediately on 
top of your arrival at Besancon." 

"What does it matter. It shall never be said that I let 
an insolent fellow go scot free." 

Amanda saw his courage. It contrasted prettily with the 
simplicity of his manners. She instantly preferred him to 
the big young man with the tail coat. She got up, and while 
appearing to be following with her eye somebody who was 
passing in the street, she went and quickly placed herself 
between him and the billiard table. 

" Take care not to look askance at that gentleman. He is 
my brother-in-law." 

" What does it matter ? He looked at me." 

" Do you want to make me unhappy ? No doubt he 
looked at you, why it may be he is going to speak to you. I 
told him that you were a relative of my mother, and that you 
had arrived from Genlis. He is a Franc-contois, and has 
never gone beyond Ddleon the Burgundy Road, so say what 
you like and fear nothing." 

Julien was still hesitating. Her barmaid's imagination 
furnished her with an abundance of lies, and she quickly 

" No doubt he looked at you, but it was at a moment when 
he was asking me who you were. He is a man who is 
boorish with everyone. He did not mean to insult you." 

Julien's eye followed the pretended brother-in-law. He 
saw him buy a ticket for the pool, which they were playing at 
the further of the two billiard tables. Julien heard his loud voice 
shouting out in a threatening tone, " My turn to play." 

He passed sharply before Madame Amanda, and took a step 
towards the billiard table. Amanda seized him by the arm. 

" Come and pay me first," she said to him. 


" That is right," thought Julien. " She is frightened that 
I shall leave without paying." Amanda was as agitated as he 
was, and very red. She gave him the change as slowly as she 
could, while she repeated to him, in a low voice, 

" Leave the cafe this instant, or I shall love you no more, 
and yet I do love you very much." 

Julien did go out, but slowly. " Am I not in duty bound, 
he repeated to himself, to go and stare at that coarse person 
in my turn ? " This uncertainty kept him on the boulevard in 
the front of the cafe for an hour ; he kept looking if his man 
was coming out. He did not come out, and Julien went 

He had only been at Besancon some hours, and already he 
had overcome one pang of remorse. The old surgeon-major 
had formerly given him some fencing lessons, in spite of his 
gout. That was all the science which Julien could enlist in 
the service of his anger. But this embarrassment would have 
been nothing if he had only known how to vent his temper 
otherwise than by the giving of a blow, for if it had come to 
a matter of fisticuffs, his enormous rival would have beaten 
him and then cleared out. 

" There is not much difference between a seminary and a 
prison," said Julien to himself, "for a poor devil like me, 
without protectors and without money. I must leave my 
civilian clothes in some inn, where I can put my black suit 
on again. If I ever manage to get out of the seminary for a 
few hours, I shall be able to see Mdlle. Amanda again in my 
lay clothes. This reasoning was all very fine. Though 
Julien passed in front of all the inns, he did not dare to enter 
a single one. 

Finally, as he was passing again before the Hotel des 
Ambassadeurs, his anxious eyes encountered those of a big 
woman, still fairly young, with a high colour, and a gay and 
happy air. He approached her and told his story. 

" Certainly, my pretty little abbe," said the hostess of the 
Ambassadeurs to him, " I will keep your lay clothes for you, 
and I will even have them regularly brushed. In weather like 
this, it is not good to leave a suit of cloth without touching 
it." She took a key, and conducted him herself to a room, 
and advised him to make out a note of what he was leaving. 

" Good heavens. How well you look like that, M. the abbe 


Sorel," said the big woman to him when he came down to 
the kitchen. I will go and get a good dinner served up to 
you, and she added in a low voice, " It will only cost twenty 
sous instead of the fifty which everybody else pays, for one 
must really take care of your little purse strings." 

" I have ten louis," Julien replied with certain pride. 

"Oh, great heavens," answered the good hostess in alarm. 
" Don't talk so loud, there are quite a lot of bad characters in 
Besancon. They'll steal all that from you in less than no time, 
and above all, never go into the cafes, they are filled with 
bad characters." 

" Indeed," said Julien, to whom those words gave food for 

" Don't go anywhere else, except to my place. I will 
make coffee for you. Remember that you will always find 
a friend here, and a good dinner for twenty sous. So now 
you understand, I hope. Go and sit down at table, I will 
serve you myself." 

" I shan't be able to eat," said Julien to her. " I am too 
upset. I am going to enter the seminary, as I leave you." 
The good woman, would not allow him to leave before she 
had filled his pockets with provisions. Finally Julien took 
his road towards the terrible place. The hostess was standing 
at the threshold, and showed him the way. 



Three hundred and thirty-six dinners at eighty-five 
centimes. Three hundred and thirty-six suppers at fifty- 
centimes. Chocolate to those who are entitled to it. 
How much profit can be made on the contract? 
Valtnod of Besaticon. 

He saw in the distance the iron gilt cross on the door. He 
approached slowly. His legs seemed to give way beneath 
him. " So here is this hell upon earth which I shall be unable 
to leave." 

Finally he made up his mind to ring. The noise of the 
bell reverberated as though through a solitude. At the end of 
ten minutes a pale man, clothed in black, came and opened the 
door. Julien looked at him, and immediately lowered his 
eyes. This porter had a singular physiognomy. The green 
projecting pupils of his eyes were as round as those of a cat. 
The straight lines of his eyebrows betokened the impossibility 
of any sympathy. His thin lips came round in a semicircle 
over projecting teeth. None the less, his physiognomy did 
not so much betoken crime as rather that perfect callousness 
which is so much more terrifying to the young. The one 
sentiment which Julien's rapid gaze surmised in this long and 
devout face was a profound contempt for every topic of 
conversation which did not deal with things celestial. Julien 
raised his eyes with an effort, and in a voice rendered quavering 
by the beating of his heart explained that he desired to 
speak to M. Pirard, the director of the Seminary. Without 
saying a word the man in black signed to him to follow. 
They ascended two stories by a large staircase with a wooden 
rail, whose warped stairs inclined to the side opposite the wall, 
and seemed on the point of falling. A little door with a big 


cemetery cross of white wood painted black at the top was 
opened with difficulty, and the porter made him enter a dark 
low room, whose whitewashed walls were decorated with two 
big pictures blackened by age. In this room Julien was left 
alone. He was overwhelmed. His heart was beating 
violently. He would have been happy to have ventured to 
cry. A silence of death reigned over the whole house. 

At the end of a quarter of an hour, which seemed a whole 
day to him, the sinister looking porter reappeared on the 
threshold of a door at the other end of the room, and without 
vouchsafing a word, signed to him to advance. He entered 
into a room even larger than the first, and very badly lighted. 
The walls also were whitened, but there was no furniture. 
Only in a corner near the door Julien saw as he passed a 
white wooden bed, two straw chairs, and a little pinewood 
armchair without any cushions. He perceived at the other 
end of the room, near a small window with yellow panes 
decorated with badly kept flower vases, a man seated at a 
table, and covered with a dilapidated cassock. He appeared 
to be in a temper, and took one after the other a number of 
little squares of paper, which he arranged on his table after 
he had written some words on them. He did not notice 
Julien's presence. The latter did not move, but kept 
standing near the centre of the room in the place where the 
porter, who had gone out and shut the door, had left him. 

Ten minutes passed in this way : the badly dressed man 
kept on writing all the time. Julien's emotion and terror 
were so great that he thought he was on the point of falling. 
A philosopher would have said, possibly wrongly, " It is a 
violent impression made by ugliness on a soul intended by 
nature to love the beautiful." 

The man who was writing lifted up his head. Julien 
only perceived it after a moment had passed, and even after 
seeing it, he still remained motionless, as though struck dead 
by the terrible look of which he was the victim. Julien's 
troubled eyes just managed to make out a long face, all 
covered with red blotches except the forehead, which mani- 
fested a mortal pallor. Two little black eyes, calculated 
to terrify the most courageous, shone between these red 
cheeks and that white forehead. The vast area of his forehead 
was bounded by thick, fiat, jet black hair. 


" Will you come near, yes or no ? " said the man at last, 

Julien advanced with an uneasy step, and at last, paler 
than he had ever been in his life and on the point of falling, 
stopped three paces from the little white wooden table which 
was covered with the squares of paper. 

" Nearer," said the man. 

Julien advanced still further, holding out his hand, as 
though trying to lean on something. 

" Your name ? " 

" Julien Sorel." 

" Vou are certainly very late," said the man to him, as he 
rivetted again on him that terrible gaze. 

Julien could not endure this look. Holding out his hand as 
though to support himself, he fell all his length along the floor. 

The man rang. Julien had only lost the use of his eyes 
and the power of movement. He heard steps approaching. 

He was lifted up and placed on the little armchair of white 
wood. He heard the terrible man saying to the porter, 

" He has had an epileptic fit apparently, and this is the 
finishing touch." 

When Julien was able to open his eyes, the man with the 
red face was going on with his writing. The porter had 
disappeared. " I must have courage," said our hero to 
himself, "and above all, hide what I feel." He felt violently 
sick. "If anything happens to me, God knows what they 
will think of me." 

Finally the man stopped writing and looked sideways at Julien. 

" Are you in a fit state to answer me ? " 

" Yes, sir," said Julien in an enfeebled voice. 

" Ah, that's fortunate." 

The man in black had half got up, and was looking 
impatiently for a letter in the drawer of his pinewood table, 
which opened with a grind. He found it, sat down slowly, 
and looking again at Julien in a manner calculated to suck 
out of him the little life which he still possessed, said, 

" You have been recommended to me by M. Chelan. He 
was the best cure in the diocese ; he was an upright man if 
there ever was one, and my friend for thirty years." 

" Oh. It's to M. Pirard then that I have the honour of 
speaking ? " said Julien in a dying voice. 



"Apparently," replied the director of the seminary, as he 
looked at him disagreeably. 

The glitter of his little eyes doubled and was followed by an 
involuntary movement of the muscles of the corner of the 
mouth. It was the physiognomy of the tiger savouring in 
advance the pleasure of devouring its prey. 

" Chelan's letter is short," he said, as though speaking to 
himself. " Intelligenti pauca. In the present time it is 
impossible to write too little." He read aloud : 

" I recommend to you Julien Sorel of this parish, whom I 
baptized nearly twenty years ago, the son of a rich carpenter who 
gives him nothing. Julien will be a remarkable worker in the 
vineyard of the Lord. He lacks neither memory nor intelligence : 
he has some faculty for reflection. Will he persevere in his 
calling? Is he sincere?" 

"Sincere," repeated the abbe Pirard with an astonished air, 
looking at Julien. But the abbe's look was already less 
devoid of all humanity. " Sincere," he repeated, lowering his 
voice, and resuming his reading : 

" I ask you for a stipend for Julien Sorel. He will earn it by 
passing the necessary examinations. I have taught him a little 
theology, that old and good theology of the Bossuets, the Arnaults, 
and the Fleury's. If the person does not suit you, send him back 
to me. The director of the workhouse, whom you know well, 
offers him eight hundred to be tutor to his children. My inner 
self is tranquil, thanks to God. I am accustoming myself to the 
terrible blow, ' Vale et me ama.' " 

The abbe Pirard, speaking more slowly as he read the 
signature, pronounced with a sigh the word, " Chelan." 

" He is tranquil," he said, " in fact his righteousness 
deserves such a recompense. May God grant it to me in such 
a case." He looked up to heaven and made the sign of the 
cross. At the sight of that sacred sign Julien felt an alleviation 
of the profound horror which had frozen him since his entry 
into the house. 

" I have here three hundred and twenty-one aspirants for 
the most holy state," said the abbe Pirard at last, in a tone, 
which though severe, was not malicious ; only seven or eight 
have been recommended to me by such men as the abbe 
Chelan ; so you will be the ninth of these among the three 


hundred and twenty-one. But my protection means neither 
favour nor weakness, it means doubled care, and doubled 
severity against vice. Go and lock that door." 

Julian made an effort to walk, and managed not to fall. 
He noticed that a little window near the entrance door looked 
out on to the country. He saw the trees ; that sight did him 
as much good as the sight of old friends. 

" ' Loquerisne linquam latinam ? '" (Do you speak Latin?) 
said the abbe Pirard to him as he came back. 

" Ita, pater optime,' " (Yes, excellent Father) answered 
Julien, recovering himself a little. But it was certain that 
nobody in the world had ever appeared to him less excellent 
than had M. Pirard for the last half hour. 

The conversation continued in Latin. The expression in 
the abbe's eyes softened. Julien regained some self- 
possession. " How weak I am," he thought, " to let myself 
be imposed on by these appearances of virtue. The man is 
probably nothing more than a rascal, like M. Maslon," and 
Julien congratulated himself on having hidden nearly all his 
money in his boots. 

The abbe Pirard examined Julien in theology ; he was 
surprised at the extent of his knowledge, but his astonishment 
increased when he questioned him in particular on sacred 
scriptures. ' But when it came to questions of the doctrines of 
the Fathers, he perceived that Julien scarcely even knew the 
names of Saint Jerome, Saint Augustin, Saint Bonaventure, 
Saint Basile, etc., etc. 

"As a matter of fact," thought the abbe Pirard, "this is 
simply that fatal tendency to Protestantism for which I have 
always reproached Chelan. A profound, and only too 
profound knowledge of the Holy Scriptures." 

(Julien had just started speaking to him, without being 
questioned on the point, about the real time when Genesis, the 
Pentateuch, etc., has been written). 

" To what does this never-ending reasoning over the Holy 
Scriptures lead to ? " thought the abbe Pirard, " if not to 
self-examination, that is to say, the most awful Protestantism. 
And by the side of this imprudent knowledge, nothing about 
the Fathers to compensate for that tendency." 

But the astonishment of the director of the seminary was 
quite unbounded when having questioned Julien about the 


authority of the Pope, and expecting to hear the maxims of 
the ancient Gallican Church, the young man recited to him 
the whole book of M. de Maistre " Strange man, that 
Chelan," thought the abbe Pirard. " Did he show him the 
book simply to teach him to make fun of it ? " 

It was in vain that he questioned Julien and endeavoured 
to guess if he seriously believed in the doctrine of M. de 
Maistre. The young man only answered what he had learnt 
by heart. From this moment Julien was really happy. He 
felt that he was master of himself. After a very long examina- 
tion, it seemed to him that M. Pirard's severity towards him 
was only affected. Indeed, the director of the seminary 
would have embraced Julien in the name of logic, for he 
found so much clearness, precision and lucidity in his 
answers, had it not been for the principles of austere gravity 
towards his theology pupils which he had inculcated in himself 
for the last fifteen years. 

"Here we have a bold and healthy mind," he said to 
himself, " but corpus debile " (the body is weak). 

" Do you often fall like that ? " he said to Julien in French, 
pointing with his finger to the floor. 

" It's the first time in my life. The porter's face unnerved 
me," added Julien, blushing like a child. The abbe Pirard 
almost smiled. 

"That's the result of vain worldly pomp. You are 
apparently accustomed to smiling faces, those veritable 
theatres of falsehood. Truth is austere, Monsieur, but is not our 
task down here also austere ? You must be careful that your 
conscience guards against that weakness of yours, too much 
sensibility to vain external graces." 

" If you had not been recommended to me," said the 
abbe Pirard, resuming the Latin language with an obvious 
pleasure, " If you had not been recommended by a man, by 
the abbe Chelan, I would talk to you the vain language of 
that world, to which it would appear you are only too well 
accustomed. I would tell you that the full stipend which 
you solicit is the most difficult thing in the world to obtain. 
But the fifty-six years which the abbe Chelan has spent in 
apostolic work have stood him in poor stead if he cannot 
dispose of a stipend at the seminary. 

After these words, the abbee Pirard recommended Julien 


not to enter any secret society or congregation without his 

" I give you my word of honour," said Julien, with all 
an honest man's expansion of heart. The director of the 
seminary smiled for the first time. 

" That expression is not used here," he said to him. " It is 
too reminiscent of that vain honour of worldly people, which 
leads them to so many errors and often to so many crimes. 
You owe me obedience by virtue of paragraph seventeen of 
the bull Unam Eccesiam of St. Pius the Fifth. I am your 
ecclesiastical superior. To hear in this house, my dear son, is 
to obey. How much money, have you ? " 

("So here we are," said Julien to himself, "that was the 
reason of the ' my very dear son ')." 

" Thirty-five francs, my father." 

" Write out carefully how you use that money. You will 
have to give me an account of it." 

This painful audience had lasted three hours. Julien 
summoned the porter. 

" Go and install Julien Sorel in cell No. 103," said the abbe 
Pirard to the man. 

As a great favour he let Julien have a place all to himself. 
" Carry his box there," he added. 

Julien lowered his eyes, and recognised his box just in 
front of him. He had been looking at it for three hours and 
had not recognised it. 

As he arrived at No. 103, which was a little room 
eight feet square on the top story of the house, Julien noticed 
that it looked out on to the ramparts, and he perceived 
beyond them the pretty plain which the Doubs divides from 
the town. 

"What a charming view !" exclaimed Julien. In speaking 
like this he did not feel what the words actually expressed. The 
violent sensations which he had experienced during the short 
time that he had been at Besanc_on had absolutely exhausted 
his strength. He sat down near the window on the one 
wooden chair in the cell, and fell at once into a profound 
sleep. He did not hear either the supper bell or the bell for 
benediction. They had forgotten him. When the first rays 
of the sun woke him up the following morning, he found 
himself lying on the floor. 



I am alone in the world. No one deigns to spare me a thought. 
All those whom I see make their fortune, have an insolence and 
hardness of heart which I do not feel in myself. They hate me 
by reason of kindness and good-humour. Oh, I shall die soon, 
either from starvation or the unhappiness of seeing men so hard of 
heart. Young. 

He hastened to brush his clothes and run down. He was 
late. Instead of trying to justify himself Julien crossed his 
arms over his breast. 

" Peccavi pater optime (I have sinned, I confess my fault, 
oh, my father)," he said with a contrite air. 

This first speech was a great success. The clever ones 
among the seminarists saw that they had to deal with a man 
who knew something about the elements of the profession. The 
recreation hour arrived, and Julien saw that he was the object 
of general curiosity, but he only manifested reserved silence. 
Following the maxims he had laid down for himself, he 
considered his three hundred and twenty-one comrades as 
enemies. The most dangerous of all in his eyes was the 
abbe Pirard. A few days afterwards Julien had to choose a 
confessor, and was given a list. 

" Great heavens ! what do they take me for ? " he said to 
himself. " Do they think I don't understand what's what ? " 
Then he chose the abbe Pirard. 

This step proved decisive without his suspecting it. 

A little seminarist, who was quite young and a native of 
Verrieres, and who had declared himself his friend since the 
first day, informed him that he would probably have acted 
more prudently if he had chosen M. Castanede, the sub- 
director of the seminary 


"The abbe Castanede is the enemy of Pirard, who is 
suspected of Jansenism," added the little seminarist in a 
whisper. All the first steps of our hero were, in spite of the 
prudence on which he plumed himself, as much mistakes as 
his choice of a confessor. Misled as he was by all the self- 
confidence of a man of imagination, he took his projects for 
facts, and believed that he was a consummate hypocrite. His 
folly went so far as to reproach himself for his success in this 
kind of weakness. 

" Alas, it is my only weapon," he said to himself. " At 
another period I should have earned my livelihood by eloquent 
deeds in the face of the enemy." 

Satisfied as he was with his own conduct, Julien looked 
around him. He found everywhere the appearance of the 
purest virtue. 

Eight or ten seminarists lived in the odour of sanctity, and 
had visions like Saint Theresa, and Saint Francis, when he 
received his stigmata on Mount Vernia in the Appenines. 
But it was a great secret and their friends concealed it. These 
poor young people who had visions were always in the in- 
firmary. A hundred others combined an indefatigable applica- 
tion to a robust faith. They worked till they fell ill, but 
without learning much. Two or three were distinguished by 
a real talent, amongst others a student of the name of Chazel, 
but both they and Julien felt mutually unsympathetic. 

The rest of these three hundred and twenty-one seminarists 
consisted exclusively of coarse persons, who were by no means 
sure of understanding the Latin words which they kept on 
repeating the livelong day. Nearly all were the sons of 
peasants, and they preferred to gain their livelihood by reciting 
some Latin words than by ploughing the earth. It was after 
this examination of his colleagues that Julien, during the first 
few days, promised himself a speedy success. 

" Intelligent people are needed in every service," he said to 
himself, " for, after all, there is work to be done. I should 
have been a sergeant under Napoleon. I shall be a grand 
vicar among these future cures." 

" All these poor devils," he added, " manual labourers as 
they have been since their childhood, have lived on curded 
milk and black bread up till they arrived here. They would 
only eat meat five or six times a year in their hovels. Like 


the Roman soldiers who used to find war the time of rest, these 
poor peasants are enchanted with the delights of the seminary. 

Julien could never read anything in their gloomy eyes but 
the satisfaction of physical craving after dinner, and the ex- 
pectation of sensual pleasure before the meal. Such were the 
people among whom Julien had to distinguish himself; but 
the fact which he did not know, and which they refrained 
from telling him, was that coming out first in the different 
courses of dogma, ecclesiastical history, etc., etc., which are 
taken at the seminary, constituted in their eyes, neither more 
nor less than a splendid sin. 

Since the time of Voltaire and two-chamber Government, 
which is at bottom simply distrust and personal self-examina- 
tion, and gives the popular mind that bad habit of being 
suspicious, the Church of France seems to have realised that 
books are its real enemies. It is the submissive heart which 
counts for everything in its eyes. It suspects, and rightly so, 
any success in studies, even sacred ones. What is to prevent 
a superior man from crossing over to the opposite side like 
Sieyes or Gregory. The trembling Church clings on to the 
Pope as its one chance of safety. The Pope alone is in a 
position to attempt to paralyse all personal self-examination, 
and to make an impression by means of the pompous piety 
of his court ceremonial on the bored and morbid spirit of 
fashionable society. 

Julien, as he began to get some glimpse of these various 
truths, which are none the less in total contradiction to all 
the official pronouncements of any seminary, fell into a profound 
melancholy. He worked a great deal and rapidly succeeded 
in learning things which were extremely useful to a priest, 
extremely false in his own eyes, and devoid of the slightest 
interest for him. He felt there was nothing else to do. 

" Am I then forgotten by the whole world," he thought. 
He did not know that M. Pirard had received and thrown into 
the fire several letters with the Dijon stamp in which the most 
lively passion would pierce through the most formal con- 
ventionalism of style. " This love seems to be fought by great 
attacks of remorse. All the better," thought the abbe Pirard. 
" At any rate this lad has not loved an infidel woman." 

One day the abbe Pirard opened a letter which seemed 
half-blotted out by tears. It was an adieu for ever. " At 


last," said the writer to Julien, " Heaven has granted me the 
grace of hating, not the author of my fall, but my fall itself. 
The sacrifice has been made, dear one, not without tears as 
you see. The safety of those to whom I must devote my life, 
and whom you love so much, is the decisive factor. A just 
but terrible God will no longer see His way to avenge on them 
their mother's crimes. Adieu, Julien. Be just towards all 
men." The end of the letter was nearly entirely illegible. 
The writer gave an address at Dijon, but at the same time 
expressed the hope that Julien would not answer, or at any 
rate would employ language which a reformed woman could 
read without blushing. Julien's melancholy, aggravated by 
the mediocre nourishment which the contractor who gave 
dinners at thirteen centimes per head supplied to the seminary, 
began to affect his health, when Fouque suddenly appeared in 
his room one morning. 

" I have been able to get in at last. I have duly been five 
times to Besancon in order to see you. Could never get in. 
I put someone by the door to watch. Why the devil don't 
you ever go out ? " 

" It is a test which I have imposed on myself." 

" I find you greatly changed, but here you are again. I 
have just learned from a couple of good five franc pieces that 
I was only a fool not to have offered them on my first journey." 

The conversation of the two friends went on for ever. 
Julien changed coloured when Fouque said to him, 

" Do you know, by the by, that your pupils' mother has 
become positively devout." 

And he began to talk in that off-hand manner which makes 
so singular an impression on the passionate soul, whose dearest 
interests are being destroyed without the speaker having the 
faintest suspicion of it. 

" Yes, my friend, the most exalted devoutness. She is said 
to make pilgrimages. But to the eternal shame of the abbe 
Maslon, who has played the spy so long on that poor M. 
Chelan, Madame de Renal would have nothing to do with 
him. She goes to confession to Dijon or Besancon." 

" She goes to Besancon," said Julien, flushing all over his 

" Pretty often," said Fouque in a questioning manner. 

" Have you got any Constitutionnels on you ? " 


" What do you say ? " replied Fouque. 

" I'm asking if you've got any Constitutionnels ? " went on 
Julien in the quietest tone imaginable. "They cost thirty 
sous a number here." 

" What ! " exclaimed Fouque. " Liberals even in the 
seminary ! Poor France," he added, assuming the abbe 
Maslon's hypocritical voice and sugary tone. 

This visit would have made a deep impression on our hero, 
if he had not been put on the track of an important discovery 
by some words addressed to him the following day by the little 
seminarist from Verrieres. Julien's conduct since he had been 
at the seminary had been nothing but a series of false steps. 
He began to make bitter fun of himself. 

In point of fact the important actions in his life had been 
cleverly managed, but he was careless about details, and 
cleverness in a seminary consists in attention to details. 
Consequently, he had already the reputation among his 
comrades of being a strong-minded person. He had been 
betrayed by a number of little actions. 

He had been convicted in their eyes of this enormity, he 
thought and judged for himself instead of blindly following 
authority and example. The abbe Pirard had been no help 
to him. He had not spoken to him on a single occasion 
apart from the confessional, and even there he listened more 
than he spoke. Matters would have been very different if he 
had chosen the abbe Castanede. The moment that Julien 
realised his folly, he ceased to be bored. He wished to know 
the whole extent of the evil, and to effect this emerged a little 
from that haughty obstinate silence with which he had 
scrupulously rebuffed his comrades. It was now that they 
took their revenge on him. His advances were welcomed by 
a contempt verging on derision. He realised that there had 
not been one single hour from the time of his entry into the 
seminary, particularly during recreation time, which had not 
resulted in affecting him one way or another, which had not 
increased the number of his enemies, or won for him the 
goodwill of some seminarist who was either sincerely virtuous 
or of a fibre slightly less coarse than that of the others. The 
evil to repair was infinite, and the task very difficult. Hence- 
forth, Julien's attention was always on guard. The problem 
before him was to map out a new character for himself. 


The moving of his eyes for example, occasioned him a great 
deal of trouble. It is with good reason that they are carried 
lowered in these places. 

" How presumptuous I was at Verrieres," said Julien to 
himself. " I thought I lived ; I was only preparing for life, 
and here I am at last in the world such as I shall find it, until 
my part comes to an end, surrounded by real enemies. What 
immense difficulties," he added, "are involved in keeping up 
this hypocrisy every single minute. It is enough to put the 
labours of Hercules into the shade. The Hercules of modern 
times is the Pope Sixtus Quintus, who deceived by his modesty 
fifteen years on end forty Cardinals who had seen the liveliness 
and haughtiness of his whole youth. 

"So knowledge is nothing here," he said to himself with 
disgust. " Progress in doctrine, in sacred history, etc., only 
seem to count. Everything said on those subjects is only 
intended to entrap fools like me. Alas my only merit consists 
in my rapid progress, and in the way in which I grasp all 
their nonsense. Do they really value those things at their 
true worth? Do they judge them like I do. And I had 
the stupidity to be proud of my quickness. The only result 
of my coming out top has been to give me inveterate enemies. 
Chazel, who really knows more than I do, always throws 
some blunder in his compositions which gets him put back to 
the fiftieth place. If he comes out first, it is only because he 
is absent-minded. O how useful would one word, just one 
word, of M. Pirard, have been to me." 

As soon as Julien was disillusioned, the long exercises in 
ascetic piety, such as the attendances in the chapel five times 
a week, the intonation of hymns at the chapel of the Sacre 
Coeur, etc , etc., which had previously seemed to him so 
deadly boring, became his most interesting opportunities for 
action. Thanks to a severe introspection, and above all, by 
trying not to overdo his methods, Julien did not attempt at 
the outset to perform significant actions (that is to say, actions 
which are proof of a certain Christian perfection) like those 
seminarists who served as a model to the rest. 

Seminarists have a special way, even of eating a poached 
egg, which betokens progress in the devout life. 

The reader who smiles at this will perhaps be good enough 
to remember all the mistakes which the abbe Delille made 


over the eating of an egg when he was invited to breakfast 
with a lady of the Court of Louis XVI. 

Julien first tried to arrive at the state of non culpa, that is 
to say the state of the young seminarist whose demeanour and 
manner of moving his arms, eyes, etc. while in fact without 
any trace of worldliness, do not yet indicate that the person is 
entirely absorbed by the conception of the other world, and 
the idea of the pure nothingness of this one. 

Julien incessantly found such phrases as these charcoaled 
on the walls of the corridors. " What are sixty years of ordeals 
balanced against an eternity of delights or any eternity of 
boiling oil in hell ? " He despised them no longer. He 
realised that it was necessary to have them incessantly before 
his eyes. " What am I going to do all my life," he said to 
himself. " I shall sell to the faithful a place in heaven. 
How am I going to make that place visible to their eyes ? By 
the difference between my appearance and that of a layman." 

After several months of absolutely unremitting application, 
Julien still had the appearance of thinking. The way in 
which he would move his eyes and hold his mouth did not 
betoken that implicit faith which is ready to believe everything 
and undergo everything, even at the cost of martyrdom. 
Julien saw with anger that he was surpassed in this by the 
coarsest peasants. There was good reason for their not 
appearing full of thought. 

What pains did he not take to acquire that facial expression 
of blindly fervent faith which is found so frequently in the 
Italian convents, and of which Le Guerchin has left such 
perfect models in his Church pictures for the benefit of us 

On feast-days, the seminarists were regaled with sausages 
and cabbage. Julien's table neighbours observed that he did 
not appreciate this happiness. That was looked upon as one 
of his paramount crimes. His comrades saw in this a most 
odious trait, and the most foolish hypocrisy. Nothing mad 
him more enemies. 

" Look at this bourgeois, look at this stuck-up person," 
they would say, " who pretends to despise the best rations 
there are, sausages and cabbage, shame on the villain ! 
The haughty wretch, he is damned for ever." 

"Alas, these young peasants, who are my comrades, find 


their ignorance an immense advantage," Julien would exclaim 
in his moments of discouragement. The professor has not 
got to deliver them on their arrival at the seminary from that 
awful number of worldly ideas which I brought into it, and 
which they read on my face whatever I do." 

Julien watched with an attention bordering on envy the 
coarsest of the little peasants who arrived at the seminary. 
From the moment when they were made to doff their shabby 
jackets to don the black robe, their education consisted of an 
immense and limitless respect for hard liquid cash as they say 
in Franche-comte. 

That is the consecrated and heroic way of expressing the 
sublime idea of current money. 

These seminarists, like the heroes in Voltaire's novels, 
found their happiness in dining well. Julien discovered in 
nearly all of them an innate respect for the man who wears a 
suit of good cloth. This sentiment appreciates the distributive 
justice, which is given us at our courts, at its value or even above 
its true value. " What can one gain," they would often repeat 
among themselves, " by having a law suit with ' a big man ? ' " 

That is the expression current in the valleys of the Jura to 
express a rich man. One can judge of their respect for the 
richest entity of all the government. Failure to smile 
deferentially at the mere name of M. the Prefect is regarded 
as an imprudence in the eyes of the Franche-comte peasant, 
and imprudence in poor people is quickly punished by lack 
of bread. 

After having been almost suffocated at first by his feeling of 
contempt, Julien eventually experienced a feeling of pity ; it 
often happened that the fathers of most of his comrades 
would enter their hovel in winter evenings and fail to find 
there either bread, chestnuts or potatoes. 

" What is there astonishing then ? " Julien would say to 
himself, " if in their eyes the happy man is in the first place 
the one who has just had a good dinner, and in the second 
place the one who possesses a good suit ? My comrades have 
a lasting vocation, that is to say, they see in the ecclesiastical 
calling a long continuance of the happiness of dining well and 
having a warm suit." 

Julien happened to hear ayoung imaginative seminarist say 
to his companion. 


"Why shouldn't I become Pope like Sixtus Quintus who 
kept pigs ? " 

"They only make Italians Popes," answered his friend. 
" But they will certainly draw lots amongst us for the great 

vicarships, canonries and perhaps bishoprics. M. P 

Bishop of Chlons, is the son of a cooper. That's what my 
father is." 

One day, in the middle of a theology lesson, the Abbe 
Pirard summoned Julien to him. The young fellow was 
delighted to leave the dark, moral atmosphere in which he 
had been plunged. Julien received from the director the 
same welcome which had frightened him so much on the first 
day of his entry. 

" Explain to me what is written on this playing card ? " he 
said, looking at him in a way calculated to make him sink into 
the earth. 

Julien read : 

"Amanda Biriet of the Giraffe Cafe before eight o'clock. 
Say you're from Genlis, and my mother's cousin." 

Julien realised the immense danger. The spies of the abbe 
Castanede had stolen the address. 

" I was trembling with fear the day I came here," he 
answered, looking at the abbe Pirard's forehead, for he could 
not endure that terrible gaze. " M. Chelan told me that this 
is a place of informers and mischief-makers of all kinds, and 
that spying and tale-bearing by one comrade on another was 
encouraged by the authorities. Heaven wishes it to be so, 
so as to show life such as it is to the young priests, and fill 
them with disgust for the world and all its pomps." 

" And it's to me that you make these fine speeches," said 
the abbe Pirard furiously. " You young villain." 

" My brothers used to beat me at Verrieres," answered 
Julien coldly, " When they had occasion to be jealous of me." 

" Indeed, indeed," exclaimed M. Pirard, almost beside 

Julien went on with his story without being in the least 
intimidated : 

"The day of my arrival at Besancon I was hungry, and I 
entered a cafe. My spirit was full of revulsion for so profane 
a place, but I thought that my breakfast would cost me less 
than at an inn. A lady, who seemed to be the mistress of the 


establishment, took pity on my inexperience. ' Besan^on is 
full of bad characters,' she said to me. ' I fear something 
will happen to you, sir. If some mishap should occur to you, 
have recourse to me and send to my house before eight o'clock. 
If the porters of the seminary refuse to execute your errand, 
say you are my cousin and a native of Genlis.' " 

" I will have all this chatter verified," exclaimed the abbe 
Pirard, unable to stand still, and walking about the room. 

" Back to the cell." 

The abbe followed Julien and locked him in. The latter 
immediately began to examine his trunk, at the bottom of 
which the fatal cards had been so carefully hidden. Nothing 
was missing in the trunk, but several things had been dis- 
arranged. Nevertheless, he had never been without the key. 
What luck that, during the whole time of my blindness, said 
Julien to himself, I never availed myself of the permission to 
go out that Monsieur Castanede would offer me so frequently, 
with a kindness which I now understand. Perhaps I should 
have had the weakness to have changed my clothes and gone 
to see the fair Amanda, and then I should have been ruined. 
When they gave up hope of exploiting that piece of informa- 
tion for the accomplishment of his ruin, they had used it to 
inform against him. Two hours afterwards the director 
summoned him. 

" You did not lie," he said to him, with a less severe look, 
" but keeping an address like that is an indiscretion of a 
gravity which you are unable to realise. Unhappy child ! It 
may perhaps do you harm in ten years' time." 



The present time, Great God ! is the ark of the Lord ; cursed 
be he who touches it. Diderot. 

The reader will kindly excuse us if we give very few clear and 
definite facts concerning this period of Julien's life. It is not 
that we lack facts ; quite the contrary. But it may be that 
what he saw in the seminary is too black for the medium 
colour which the author has endeavoured to preserve through- 
out these pages. Those of our contemporaries who have 
suffered from certain things cannot remember them without a 
horror which paralyses every other pleasure, even that of 
reading a tale. 

Julien achieved scant success in his essays at hypocritical 
gestures. He experienced moments of disgust, and even of 
complete discouragement. He was not a success, even in a 
a vile career. The slightest help from outside would have 
sufficed to have given him heart again, for the difficulty to 
overcome was not very great, but he was alone, like a derelict 
ship in the middle of the ocean. " And when I do succeed," 
he would say to himself, " think of having to pass a whole 
lifetime in such awful company, gluttons who have no thought 
but for the large omelette which they will guzzle at dinner- 
time, or persons like the abbe Castanede, who finds no crime 
too black ! They will attain power, but, great heavens ! at 
what cost. 

"The will of man is powerful, I read it everywhere, but 
is it enough to overcome so great a disgust ? The task of all 
the great men was easy by comparison. However terrible was 
the danger, they found it fine, and who can realise, except 
myself, the ugliness of my surroundings ? " 


This moment was the most trying in his whole life. It 
would have been so easy for him to have enlisted in one of 
the fine regiments at the garrison of Besancon. He could 
have become a Latin master. He needed so little for his 
subsistence, but in that case no more career, no more future 
for his imagination. It was equivalent to death. Here is one 
of his sad days in detail : 

" I have so often presumed to congratulate myself on being 
different from the other young peasants ! Well, I have lived 
enough to realise that difference engenders hate" he said to 
himself one morning. This great truth had just been borne 
in upon him by one of his most irritating failures. He had 
been working for eight days at teaching a pupil who lived in 
an odour of sanctity. He used to go out with him into the 
courtyard and listen submissively to pieces of fatuity enough 
to send one to sleep standing. Suddenly the weather turned 
stormy. The thunder growled, and the holy pupil exclaimed 
as he roughly pushed him away. 

" Listen ! Everyone for himself in this world. I don't 
want to be burned by the thunder. God may strike you with 
lightning like a blasphemer, like a Voltaire." 

" I deserve to be drowned if I go to sleep during the 
storm," exclaimed Julien, with his teeth clenched with rage, 
and with his eyes opened towards the sky now furrowed by 
the lightning. " Let us try the conquest of some other 

The bell rang for the abbe Castanede's course of sacred 
history. That day the abbe Castanede was teaching those 
young peasants already so frightened by their father's hard- 
ships and poverty, that the Government, that entity so terrible 
in their eyes, possessed no real and legitimate power except 
by virtue of the delegation of God's vicar on earth. 

" Render yourselves worthy, by the holiness of your life 
and by your obedience, of the benevolence of the Pope. Be 
like a stick in his hands" he added, " and you will obtain a 
superb position, where you will be far from all control, and 
enjoy the King's commands, a position from which you 
cannot be removed, and where one-third of the salary is 
paid by the Government, while the faithful who are moulded 
by your preaching pay the other two-thirds." 

Castanede stopped in the courtyard after he left the lesson- 



room. " It is particularly appropriate to say of a cure," he 
said to the pupils who formed a ring round him, " that the 
place is worth as much as the man is worth. I myself have 
known parishes in the mountains where the surplice fees were 
worth more than that of many town livings. There was quite 
as much money, without counting the fat capons, the eggs, 
fresh butter, and a thousand and one pleasant details, and 
there the cure is indisputably the first man. There is not a 
good meal to which he is not invited, feted, etc." 

Castanede had scarcely gone back to his room before the 
pupils split up into knots. Julien did not form part of any of 
them ; he was left out like a black sheep. He saw in every 
knot a pupil tossing a coin in the air, and if he managed to 
guess right in this game of heads or tails, his comrades would 
decide that he would soon have one of those fat livings. 

Anecdotes ensued. A certain young priest, who had 
scarcely been ordained a year, had given a tame rabbit to the 
maidservant of an old cure, and had succeeded in being asked 
to be his curate. In a few months afterwards, for the cure 
had quickly died, he had replaced him in that excellent living. 
Another had succeeded in getting himself designated as a 
successor to a very rich town living, by being present at all 
the meals of an old, paralytic cure, and by dexterously carving 
his poultry. The seminarists, like all young people, exag- 
gerated the effect of those little devices, which have an 
element of originality, and which strike the imagination. 

" I must take part in these conversations," said Julien to 
himself. When they did not talk about sausages and good 
livings, the conversation ran on the worldly aspect of ecclesi- 
astical doctrine, on the differences of bishops and prefects, of 
mayors and cures. Julien caught sight of the conception of 
a second god, but of a god who was much more formid- 
able and much more powerful than the other one. That 
second god was the Pope. They said among themselves, in 
a low voice, however, and when they were quite sure that they 
would not be heard by Pirard, that the reason for the Pope 
not taking the trouble of nominating all the prefects and 
mayors of France, was that he had entrusted that duty to the 
King of France by entitling him a senior son of the Church. 

It was about this time that Julien thought he could exploit, 
for the benefit of his own reputation, his knowledge of De 


Maistre's book on the Pope. In point of fact, he did astonish 
his comrades, but it was only another misfortune. He dis- 
pleased them by expounding their own opinions better than 
they could themselves. Chelan had acted as imprudently for 
Julien as he had for himself. He had given him the habit of 
reasoning correctly, and of not being put off by empty words, 
but he had neglected to tell him that this habit was a crime in 
the person of no importance, since every piece of logical 
reasoning is offensive. 

Julien's command of language added consequently a new 
crime to his score. By dint of thinking about him, his 
colleagues succeeded in expressing the horror with which he 
would inspire them by a single expression ; they nicknamed 
him Martin Luther, "particularly," they said, "because of 
that infernal logic which makes him so proud." 

Several young seminarists had a fresher complexion than 
Julien, and could pass as better-looking, but he had white 
hands, and was unable to conceal certain refined habits of 
personal cleanliness. This advantage proved a disadvantage 
in the gloomy house in which chance had cast him. This 
dirty peasants among whom he lived asserted that he had very 
abandoned morals. We fear that we may weary our reader 
by a narration of the thousand and one misfortunes of our 
hero. The most vigorous of his comrades, for example, 
wanted to start the custom of beating him. He was obliged 
to arm himself with an iron compass, and to indicate, though 
by signs, that he would make use of it. Signs cannot figure 
in a spy's report to such good advantage as words. 



All hearts were moved. The presence of God seemed 
to have descended into these narrow Gothic streets that 
stretched in every direction, and were sanded by the care 
of the faithful. Young. 

It was in vain that Julien pretended to be petty and stupid. 
He could not please ; he was too different. Yet all these pro- 
fessors, he said to himself, are very clever people, men in a 
thousand. Why do they not like my humility ? Only one 
seemed to take advantage of his readiness to believe every- 
thing, and apparently to swallow everything. This was the 
abbe Chas -Bernard, the director of the ceremonies of the 
cathedral, where, for the last fifteen years, he had been given 
occasion to hope for a canonry. While waiting, he taught 
homiletics at the seminary. During the period of Julien's 
blindness, this class was one of those in which he most fre- 
quently came out top. The abbe Chas had used this as an 
opportunity to manifest some friendship to him, and when the 
class broke up, he would be glad to take him by the arm for 
some turns in the garden. 

" What is he getting at," Julien would say to himself. He 
noticed with astonishment that, for hours on end, the abbe 
would talk to him about the ornaments possessed by the 
cathedral. It had seventeen lace chasubles, besides the 
mourning vestments. A lot was hoped from the old wife of 
the judge de Rubempre. This lady, who was ninety years of 
age, had kept for at least seventy years her wedding dress of 
superb Lyons material, embroidered with gold. 

" Imagine, my friend," the abbe Chas would say, stopping 
abruptly, and staring with amazement, "that this material 


keeps quite stiff. There is so much gold in it. It is generally 
thought in Besancon that the will of the judge's wife will result 
in the cathedral treasure being increased by more than ten 
chasubles, without counting four or five capes for the great 
feast. I will go further," said the abbe Chas, lowering his 
voice, " I have reasons for thinking the judge's wife will leave 
us her magnificent silver gilt candlesticks, supposed to have 
been bought in Italy by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, 
whose favourite minister was one of the good lady's ancestors." 

" But what is the fellow getting at with all this old clothes 
business," thought Julien. " These adroit preliminaries have 
been going on for centuries, and nothing comes of them. He 
must be very suspicious of me. He is cleverer than all the 
others, whose secret aim can be guessed so easily in a fort- 
night. I understand. He must have been suffering for 
fifteen years from mortified ambition." 

Julien was summoned one evening in the middle of the 
fencing lesson to the abbe Pirard, who said to him. 

" To-morrow is the feast of Corpus Domini (the Fete Dieu) 
the abbe Chas-Bernard needs you to help him to decorate the 
cathedral. Go and obey." The abbe Pirard called him 
back and added sympathetically. " It depends on you 
whether you will utilise the occasion to go into the town." 

" Incedo per ignes," answered Julien. (I have secret 

Julien went to the cathedral next morning with downcast 
eyes. The sight of the streets and the activity which was 
beginning to prevail in the town did him good. In all quarters 
they were extending the fronts of the houses for the procession. 

All the time that he had passed in the seminary seemed to 
him no more than a moment. His thoughts were of Vergy, 
and of the pretty Amanda whom he might perhaps meet, for 
her cafe was not very far off. He saw in the distance the 
abbe Chas-Bernard on the threshold of his beloved cathedral. 
He was a big man with a jovial face and a frank air. To-day 
he looked triumphant. " I was expecting you, my dear son," 
he cried as soon as he saw Julien in the distance. " Be 
welcome. This day's duty will be protracted and arduous. 
Let us fortify ourselves by a first breakfast. We will have the 
second at ten o'clock during high mass." 

" I do not wish, sir," said Julien to him gravely, " to be 


alone for a single instant. Deign to observe," he added, 
showing him the clock over their heads, " that I have arrived 
at one minute to five." 

"So those little rascals at the seminary frightened you. It 
is very good of you to think of them," said the abbe. " But is 
the road less beautiful because there are thorns in the hedges 
which border it. Travellers go on their way, and leave the 
wicked thorns to wait in vain where they are. And now to 
work my dear friend, to work" 

The abbe Chas was right in saying that the task would be 
arduous. There had been a great funeral ceremony at the 
cathedral the previous day. They had not been able to make 
any preparations. They had consequently only one morning 
for dressing all the Gothic pillars which constitute the three 
naves with a kind of red damask cloth ascending to a height of 
thirty feet. The Bishop had fetched by mail four decorators 
from Paris, but these gentry were not able to do everything, 
and far from giving any encouragement to the clumsiness of 
the Besancon colleagues, they made it twice as great by 
making fun of them. 

Julien saw that he would have to climb the ladder himself. 
His agility served him in good stead. He undertook the 
direction of the decorators from town. The Abbe Chas was 
delighted as he watched him flit from ladder to ladder. When 
all the pillars were dressed in damask, five enormous bouquets 
of feathers had to be placed on the great baldachin above the 
grand altar. A rich coping of gilded wood was supported by 
eight big straight columns of Italian marble, but to reach the 
centre of the baldachin above the tabernacle involved walking 
over an old wooden cornice which was forty feet high and 
possibly worm-eaten. 

The sight of this difficult crossing had extinguished the 
gaiety of the Parisian decorators, which up till then had been 
so brilliant. They looked at it from down below, argued 
a great deal, but did not go up. Julien seized hold of the 
bouquets of feathers and climbed the ladder at a run. He 
placed it neatly on the crown-shaped ornament in the centre 
of the baldachin. When he came down the ladder again, the 
abbe Chas-Bernard embraced him in his arms. 

" Optime" exclaimed the good priest, " I will tell this to 


Breakfast at ten o'clock was very gay. The abbe Chas had 
never seen his church look so beautiful. 

" Dear disciple," he said to Julien. " My mother used to 
let out chairs in this venerable building, so I have been 
brought up in this great edifice. The Terror of Robespierre 
ruined us, but when I was eight years old, that was my 
age then, I used to serve masses in private houses, so you 
see I got my meals on mass-days. Nobody could fold a 
chasuble better than I could, and I never cut the fringes. 
After the re-establishment of public worship by Napoleon, 
I had the good fortune to direct everything in this venerable 
metropolis. Five times a year do my eyes see it adorned with 
these fine ornaments. But it has never been so resplendent, 
and the damask breadths have never been so well tied or so 
close to the pillars as they are to-day." 

" So he is going to tell me his secret at last," said Julien. 
M Now he is going to talk about himself. He is expanding." 
But nothing imprudent was said by the man in spite of his 
evident exaltation. 

" All the same he has worked a great deal," said Julien to 
himself. " He is happy. What a man ! What an example 
for me ! He really takes the cake." (This was a vulgar phrase 
which he had learned from the old surgeon). 

As the sanctus of high mass sounded, Julien wanted to take 
a surplice to follow the bishop in the superb procession- 
" And the thieves, my friend ! And the thieves," exclaimed 
the abbe Chas. " Have you forgotten them ? The procession 
will go out, but we will watch, will you and I. We shall be 
very lucky if we get off with the loss of a couple of ells of this 
fine lace which surrounds the base of the pillars. It is a gift 
of Madame de Rubempre. It comes from her great-grand- 
father the famous Count. It is made of real gold, my friend," 
added the abbe in a whisper, and with evident exaltation. 
" And all genuine. I entrust you with the watching of the 
north wing. Do not leave it. I will keep the south wing and 
the great nave for myself. Keep an eye on the confessional. 
It is there that the women accomplices of the thieves always 
spy. Look out for the moment when we turn our backs." 

As he finished speaking, a quarter to twelve struck. Im- 
mediately afterwards the sound of the great clock was heard. 
It rang a full peal. These full solemn ounds affected Julien. 


His imagination was no longer turned to things earthly. The 
perfume of the incense and of the rose leaves thrown before 
the holy sacrament by little children disguised as St. John 
increased his exaltation. 

Logically the grave sounds of the bell should only have 
recalled to Julien's mind the thought of the labour of twenty 
men paid fifty-four centimes each, and possibly helped by 
fifteen or twenty faithful souls. Logically, he ought to have 
thought of the wear and tear of the cords and of the framework 
and of the danger of the clock itself, which falls down every 
two centuries, and to have considered the means of diminishing 
the salary of the bell-ringers, or of paying them by some 
indulgence or other grace dispensed from the treasures of the 
Church without diminishing its purse. 

Julien's soul exalted by these sounds with all their virile 
fulness, instead of making these wise reflections, wandered in 
the realm of imagination. He will never turn out a good 
priest or a good administrator. Souls which get thrilled so 
easily are at the best only capable of producing an artist. At 
this moment the presumption of Julien bursts out into full 
view. Perhaps fifty of his comrades in the seminary made 
attentive to the realities of life by their own unpopularity and 
the Jacobinism which they are taught to see hiding behind 
every hedge, would have had no other thought suggested by 
the great bell of the cathedral except the wages of the ringers. 
They would have analysed with the genius of Bareme whether 
the intensity of the emotion produced among the public was 
worth the money which was given to the ringers. If Julien 
had only tried to think of the material interests of the cathedral, 
his imagination would have transcended its actual object and 
thought of economizing forty francs on the fabric and have 
lost the opportunity of avoiding an expense of twenty-five 

While the procession slowly traversed Besanr^on on the 
finest day imaginable, and stopped at the brilliant altar-stations 
put up by the authorities, the church remained in profound 
silence. There prevailed a semi-obscurity, an agreeable fresh- 
ness. It was still perfumed with the fragrance of flowers and 

The silence, the deep solitude, the freshness of the long 
naves sweetened Julien's reverie. He did not fear being 


troubled by the abbe Chas, who was engaged in another part 
of the building. His soul had almost abandoned its mortal 
tenement, which was pacing slowly the north wing which had 
been trusted to his surveillance. He was all the more tranquil 
when he had assured himself that there was no one in the 
confessional except some devout women. His eyes looked in 
front of him seeing nothing. 

His reverie was almost broken by the sight of two well- 
dressed women, one in the Confessional, and the other on 
a chair quite near her. He looked without seeing, but 
noticed, however, either by reason of some vague apprecia- 
tion of his duties or admiration for the aristocratic but 
simple dress of the ladies, that there was no priest in the 

" It is singular," he thought, " that if these fair ladies are 
devout, they are not kneeling before some altar, or that if they 
are in society they have not an advantageous position in the 
first row of some balcony. How well cut that dress is ! How 
graceful ! " 

He slackened his pace to try and look at them. The lady 
who was kneeling in the Confessional turned her head a little 
hearing the noise of Julien's step in this solemn place. 
Suddenly she gave a loud cry, and felt ill. 

As the lady collapsed and fell backwards on her knees, 
her friend who was near her hastened to help her. At the 
same time Julien saw the shoulders of the lady who was falling 
backwards. His eyes were struck by a twisted necklace of 
fine, big pearls, which he knew well. What were his emotions 
when he recognised the hair of Madame de Renal ? It was 
she ! The lady who was trying to prevent her from falling was 
Madame Derville. Julien was beside himself and hastened to 
their side. Madame de Renal's fall would perhaps have carried 
her friend along with her, if Julien had not supported them. 
He saw the head of Madame de Renal, pale and entirely 
devoid of consciousness floating on his shoulder. He helped 
Madame Derville to lean that charming head up against a 
straw chair. He knelt down. 

Madame Derville turned round and recognised him. 

" Away, monsieur, away ! " she said to him, in a tone of the 
most lively anger. "Above all, do not let her see you again. The 
sight of you would be sure to horrify her. She was so happy 


before you came. Your conduct is atrocious. Flee ! Take 
yourself off if you have any shame left." 

These words were spoken with so much authority, and 
Julien felt so weak, that he did take himself off. " She always 
hated me," he said to himself, thinking of Madame Derville. 
At the same moment the nasal chanting of the first priests in 
the procession which was now coming back resounded in the 
church. The abbe Chas-Bernard called Julien, who at first 
did not hear him, several times. He came at last and took 
his arm behind a pillar where Julien had taken refuge more 
dead than alive. He wanted to present him to the Bishop. 

" Are you feeling well, my child ? " said the abbe to him, 
seeing him so pale, and almost incapable of walking. " You 
have worked too much." The abbe gave him his arm. 
" Come, sit down behind me here, on the little seat of the 
dispenser of holy water ; I will hide you." 

They were now beside the main door. 

" Calm yourself. We have still a good twenty minutes 
before Monseigneur appears. Try and pull yourself together. 
I will lift you up when he passes, for in spite of my age, I am 
strong and vigorous." 

Julien was trembling so violently when the Bishop passed, 
that the abbe Chas gave up the idea of presenting him. 

" Do not take it too much to heart," he said. " I will find 
another opportunity." 

The same evening he had six pounds of candles which had 
been saved, he said, by Julien's carefulness, and by the 
promptness with which he had extinguished them, carried to 
the seminary chapel. Nothing could have been nearer the 
truth. The poor boy was extinguished himself. He had not 
had a single thought after meeting Madame de Renal. 



He knew his age, he knew his department, and he is rich. 

The Forerunner. 

Julien had not emerged from the deep reverie in which the 
episode in the cathedral had plunged him, when the severe 
abbe Pirard summoned him. 

" M. the abbe Chas-Bernard has just written in your 
favour. I am on the whole sufficiently satisfied with your 
conduct. You are extremely imprudent and irresponsible 
without outward signs of it. However, up to the present, you 
have proved yourself possessed of a good and even generous 
heart. Your intellect is superior. Taking it all round, I see 
in you a spark which one must not neglect. 

" I am on the point of leaving this house after fifteen years 
of work. My crime is that I have left the seminarists to their 
free will, and that I have neither protected nor served that 
secret society of which you spoke to me at the Confessional. 
I wish to do something for you before I leave. I would have 
done so two months earlier, for you deserve it, had it not been 
for the information laid against you as the result of the finding 
in your trunk of Amanda Binet's address. I will make you 
New and Old Testament tutor. Julien was transported with 
gratitude and evolved the idea of throwing himself on his knees 
and thanking God. He yielded to a truer impulse, and 
approaching the abbe Pirard, took his hand and pressed it to 
his lips. 

"What is the meaning of this?" exclaimed the director 
angrily, but Julien's eyes said even more than his act. 

The abbe Pirard looked at him in astonishment, after the 
manner of a man who has long lost the habit of encountering 


refined emotions. The attention deceived the director. His 
voice altered. 

" Well yes, my child, I am attached to you. Heaven knows 
that I have been so in spite of myself. I ought to show 
neither hate nor love to anyone. I see in you something which 
offends the vulgar. Jealousy and calumny will pursue you in 
whatever place Providence may place you. Your comrades 
will never behold you without hate, and if they pretend to 
like you, it will only be to betray you with greater certainty. 
For this there is only one remedy. Seek help only from God, 
who, to punish you for your presumption, has cursed you with 
the inevitable hatred of your comrades. Let your conduct be 
pure. That is the only resource which I can see for you. If 
you love truth with an irresistible embrace, your enemies will 
sooner or later be confounded." 

It had been so long since Julien had heard a friendly voice 
that he must be forgiven a weakness. He burst out into 

The abbe Pirard held out his arms to him. This moment 
was very sweet to both of them. Julien was mad with joy. 
This promotion was the first which he had obtained. The 
advantages were immense. To realise them one must have 
been condemned to pass months on end without an instant's 
solitude, and in immediate contact with comrades who were at 
the best importunate, and for the most part insupportable. 
Their cries alone would have sufficed to disorganise a delicate 
constitution. The noise and joy of these peasants, well-fed 
and well-clothed as they were, could only find a vent for itself, 
or believe in its own completeness when they were shouting 
with all the strength of their lungs. 

Now Julien dined alone, or nearly an hour later than the 
other seminarists. He had a key of the garden and could walk 
in it when no one else was there. 

Julien was astonished to perceive that he was now hated 
less. He, on the contrary, had been expecting that their 
hate would become twice as intense. That secret desire of 
his that he should not be spoken to, which had been only too 
manifest before, and had earned him so many enemies, was 
no longer looked upon as a sign of ridiculous haughtiness. 
It became, in the eyes of the coarse beings who surrounded 
him, a just appreciation of his own dignity. The hatred of 


him sensibly diminished, above all among the youngest of his 
comrades, who were now his pupils, and whom he treated 
with much politeness. Gradually he obtained his own 
following. It became looked upon as bad form to call him 
Martin Luther. 

But what is the good of enumerating his friends and his 
enemies? The whole business is squalid, and all the more 
squalid in proportion to the truth of the picture. And yet 
the clergy supply the only teachers of morals which the people 
have. What would happen to the people without them ? 
Will the paper ever replace the cure ? 

Since Julien's new dignity, the director of the seminary 
made a point of never speaking to him without witnesses. 
These tactics were prudent, both for the master and for the 
pupil, but above all it was meant for a test. The invariable 
principle of that severe Jansenist Pirard was this "if a man 
has merit in your eyes, put obstacles in the way of all he 
desires, and of everything which he undertakes. If the merit 
is real, he will manage to overthrow or get round those 

It was the hunting season. It had occurred to Fouque to 
send a stag and a boar to the seminary as though they came 
from Julien's parents. The dead animals were put down on 
the floor between the kitchen and the refectory. It was there 
that they were seen by all the seminarists on their way to 
dinner. They constituted a great attraction for their curiosity. 
The boar, dead though it was, made the youngest ones feel 
frightened. They touched its tusks. They talked of nothing 
else for a whole week. 

This gift, which raised Julien's family to the level of that 
class of society which deserves respect, struck a deadly blow 
at all jealousy. He enjoyed a superiority, consecrated by 
fortune. Chazel, the most distinguished of the seminarists, 
made advances to him, and always reproached him for not 
having previously apprised them of his parents' position and 
had thus involved them in treating money without sufficient 
respect. A conscription took place, from which Julien, in 
his capacity as seminarist, was exempt. This circumstance 
affected him profoundly. "So there is just passed for ever 
that moment which, twenty years earlier, would have seen my 
heroic life begin. He was walking alone in the seminary 


garden. He heard the masons who were walling up the 
cloister walls talking between themselves. 

" Yes, we must go. There's the new conscription. When 
the other was alive it was good business. A mason could 
become an officer then, could become a general then. One 
has seen such things." 

" You go and see now. It's only the ragamuffins who 
leave for the army. Any one who has anything stays in the 
country here." 

" The man who is born wretched stays wretched, and there 
you are." 

" I say, is it true what they say, that the other is dead ? " 
put in the third mason. 

" Oh well, it's the ' big men ' who say that, you see. The 
other one made them afraid." 

" What a difference. How the fortification went ahead in his 
time. And to think of his being betrayed by his own marshals." 

This conversation consoled Julien a little. As he went 
away, he repeated with a sigh : 

" Le seul roi dont le peuple a garde la memore." 

The time for the examination arrived. Julien answered 
brilliantly. He saw that Chazel endeavoured to exhibit all 
his knowledge. On the first day the examiners, nominated by 
the famous Grand Vicar de Frilair, were very irritated at 
always having to put first, or at any rate second, on their list, 
that Julien Sorel, who had been designated to them as the 
Benjamin of the Abbe Pirard. There were bets in the 
seminary that Julien would come out first in the final list of 
the examination, a privilege which carried with it the honour 
of dining with my Lord Bishop. But at the end of a sitting, 
dealing with the fathers of the Church, an adroit examiner, 
having first interrogated Julien on Saint Jerome and his 
passion for Cicero, went on to speak about Horace, Virgil and 
other profane authors. Julien had learnt by heart a great 
number of passages from these authors without his comrades, 
knowledge. Swept away by his successes, he forgot the place 
where he was, and recited in paraphrase with spirit several 
odes of Horace at the repeated request of the examiner. 
Having for twenty minutes given him enough rope to hang 
himself, the examiner changed his expression, and bitterly 
reproached him for the time he had wasted on these profane 


studies, and the useless or criminal ideas which he had got 
into his head. 

" 1 am a fool, sir You are right," said Julien modestly, 
realising the adroit stratagem of which he was the victim. 

This examiner's dodge was considered dirty, even at the 
seminary, but this did not prevent the abbe de Frilair, that 
adroit individual who had so cleverly organised the machinery 
of the Besancon congregation, and whose despatches to Paris 
put fear into the hearts of judges, prefect, and even the 
generals of the garrison, from placing with his powerful hand 
the number 198 against Julien's name. He enjoyed subject- 
ing his enemy, Pirard the Jansenist, to this mortification. 

His chief object for the last ten years had been to deprive 
him of the headship of the seminary. The abbe, who had 
himself followed the plan which he had indicated to Julien, 
was sincere, pious, devoted to his duties and devoid of 
intrigue, but heaven in its anger had given him that bilious 
temperament which is by nature so deeply sensitive to insults 
and to hate. None of the insults which were addressed to 
him was wasted on his burning soul. He would have 
handed in his resignation a hundred times over, but he 
believed that he was useful in the place where Providence had 
set him. " I prevent the progress of Jesuitism and Idolatry," 
he said to himself. 

At the time of the examinations, it was perhaps nearly 
two months since he had spoken to Julien, and nevertheless, 
he was ill for eight days when, on receipt of the official letter 
announcing the result of the competition, he saw the number 
198 placed beside the name of that pupil whom he regarded 
as the glory of his town. This stern character found his only 
consolation in concentrating all his surveillance on Julien. 
He was delighted that he discovered in him neither anger, 
nor vindictiveness, nor discouragement. 

Julien felt a thrill some months afterwards when he received 
a letter. It bore the Paris post-mark. Madame de Renal is 
remembering her promises at last, he thought. A gentleman 
who signed himself Paul Sorel, and who said that he was his 
relative, sent him a letter of credit for five hundred francs. 
The writer went on to add that if Julien went on to study 
successfully the good Latin authors, a similar sum would be 
sent to him every year. 


" It is she. It is her kindness," said Julien to himself, 
feeling quite overcome. "She wishes to console me. But 
why not a single word of affection ? " 

He was making a mistake in regard to this letter, for 
Madame de Renal, under the influence of her friend, Madame 
Derville, was abandoning herself absolutely to profound 
remorse. She would often think, in spite of herself, of that 
singular being, the meeting with whom had revolutionized her 
life. But she carefully refrained from writing to him. 

If we were to talk the terminology of the seminary, we 
would be able to recognise a miracle in the sending of these 
five hundred francs and to say that heaven was making use of 
Monsieur de Frilair himself in order to give this gift to Julien. 
Twelve years previously the abbe de Frilair had arrived in 
Besanc_on with an extremely exiguous portmanteau, which, 
according to the story, contained all his fortune. He was 
now one of the richest proprietors of the department. In the 
course of his prosperity, he had bought the one half of an 
estate, while the other half had been inherited by Monsieur 
de la Mole. Consequently there was a great lawsuit between 
these two personages. 

M. le Marquis de la Mole felt that, in spite of his brilliant 
life at Paris and the offices which he held at Court, it would 
be dangerous to fight at Besancon against the Grand Vicar, who 
was reputed to make and unmake prefects. 

Instead of soliciting a present of fifty thousand francs which 
could have been smuggled into the budget under some name 
or other, and of throwing up this miserable lawsuit with the 
abbe Frilair over a matter of fifty thousand francs, the marquis 
1 >st his temper. He thought he was in the right, absolutely 
in the right. Moreover, if one is permitted to say so, who is 
the judge who has not got a son, or at any rate a cousin 
to push in the world ? 

In order to enlighten the blindest minds the abbe de Frilair 
took the carriage of my Lord the Bishop eight days after the 
first decree which he obtained, and went himself to convey the 
cross of the Legion of Honour to his advocate. M. de la 
Mole, a little dumbfoundered at the demeanour of the other 
side, and appreciating also that his own advocates were 
slackening their efforts, asked advice of the abbe Chelan, who 
put hiin in communication with M. Pirard. 


At the period of our story the relations between these two 
men had lasted for several years. The abbe Pirard imported 
into this affair his characteristic passion. Being in constant 
touch with the Marquis's advocates, he studied his case, and 
finding it just, he became quite openly the solicitor of M. de la 
Mole against the all-powerful Grand Vicar. The latter felt 
outraged by such insolence, and on the part of a little Jansenist 
into the bargain. 

"See what this Court nobility who pretend to be so 
powerful really are," would say the abbe de Frilair to his 
intimates. M. de la Mole has not even sent a miserable cross 
to his agent at Besancon, and will let him be tamely turned 
out. None the less, so they write me, this noble peer never lets 
a week go by without going to show off his blue ribbon in 
the drawing-room of the Keeper of Seal, whoever it may be. 

In spite of all the energy of the abbe Pirard, and although 
M. de la Mle was always on the best of terms with the 
minister of justice, and above all with his officials, the best 
that he could achieve after six careful years was not to lose 
his lawsuit right out. Being as he was in ceaseless correspond- 
ence with the abbe Pirard in connection with an affair in 
which they were both passionately interested, the Marquis 
came to appreciate the abbe's particular kind of intellect. 
Little by little, and in spite of the immense distance in their 
social positions, their correspondence assumed the tone of 
friendship. The abbe Pirard told the Marquis that they 
wanted to heap insults upon him till he should be forced to 
hand in his resignation. In his anger against what, in his 
opinion, was the infamous stratagem employed against Julien, 
he narrated his history to the Marquis. 

Although extremely rich, this great lord was by no means 
miserly. He had never been able to prevail on the abbe 
Pirard to accept even the reimbursement of the postal expenses 
occasioned by the lawsuit. He seized the opportunity of 
sending five hundred francs to his favourite pupil. M. de la 
Mole himself took the trouble of writing the covering letter. 
This gave the abbe food for thought. One day the latter 
received a little note which requested him to go immediately 
on an urgent matter to an inn on the outskirts of Besancon. 
He found there the steward of M. de la Mle. 

" M. le Marquis has instructed me to bring you his carriage," 



said the man to him. " He hopes that after you have read 
this letter you will find it convenient to leave for Paris in four 
or five days. I will employ the time in the meanwhile in 
asking you to be good enough to show me the estates of M. 
le Marquis in the Franche-Comte, so that I can go over them." 
The letter was short : 

" Rid yourself, my good sir, of all the chicanery of the provinces 
and come and breathe the peaceful atmosphere of Paris. I send 
you my carriage which has orders to await your decision for four 
days. I will await you myself at Paris until Tuesday. You only 
require to say so, monsieur, to accept in your own name one of the 
best livings in the environs of Paris. The richest of your future 
parishioners has never seen you, but is more devoted than you can 
possibly think : he is the Marquis de la Mole." 

Without having suspected it, the stern abbe Pirard loved 
this seminary, peopled as it was by his enemies, but to which 
for the past fifteen years he had devoted all his thoughts. M. 
de la Mole's letter had the effect on him of the visit of the 
surgeon come to perform a difficult but necessary operation. 
His dismissal was certain. He made an appointment with 
the steward for three days later. For forty-eight hours he was 
in a fever of uncertainty. Finally he wrote to the M. de la 
Mole, and composed for my Lord the Bishop a letter, a 
masterpiece of ecclesiastical style, although it was a little long ; 
it would have been difficult to have found more unimpeachable 
phrases, and ones breathing a more sincere respect. And 
nevertheless, this letter, intended as it was to get M. de Frilair 
into trouble with his patron, gave utterance to all the serious 
matters of complaint, and even descended to the little squalid 
intrigues which, having been endured with resignation for six 
years, were forcing the abbe Pirard to leave the diocese. 

They stole his firewood, they poisoned his dog, etc., etc. 

Having finished this letter he had Julien called. Like all 
the other seminarists, he was sleeping at eight o'clock in the 

" You know where the Bishop's Palace is," he said to him 
in good classical Latin. " Take this letter to my Lord. I 
will not hide from you that I am sending you into the midst 
of the wolves. Be all ears and eyes. Let there be no lies in 
your answers, but realise that the man questioning you will 


possibly experience a real joy in being able to hurt you. I am 
very pleased, my child, at being able to give you this experience 
before I leave you, for I do not hide from you that the letter 
which you are bearing is my resignation." 

Julien stood motionless. He loved the abbe Pirard. It 
was in vain that prudence said to him, 

"After this honest man's departure the Sacre Coeur party 
will disgrace me and perhaps expel me." 

He could not think of himself. He was embarrassed by a 
phrase which he was trying to turn in a polite way, but as a 
matter of fact he found himself without the brains to do so. 

" Well, my friend, are you not going ? " 

" Is it because they say, monsieur," answered Julian 
timidly, " that you have put nothing on one side during your 
long administration. I have six hundred francs." 

His tears prevented him from continuing. 

" That also will be noticed" said the ex-director of the 
seminary coldly. " Go to the Palace. It is getting late." 

Chance would so have it that on that evening, the abbe de 
Frilair was on duty in the salon of the Palace. My lord was 
dining with the prefect, so it was to M. de Frilair himself that 
Julien, though he did not know it, handed the letter. 

Julien was astonished to see this abbe boldly open the letter 
which was addressed to the Bishop. The face of the Grand 
Vicar soon expressed surprise, tinged with a lively pleasure, 
and became twice as grave as before. Julien, struck with his 
good appearance, found time to scrutinise him while he was 
reading. This face would have possessed more dignity had it 
not been for the extreme sublety which appeared in some 
features, and would have gone to the fact of actually denoting 
falseness if the possessor of this fine countenance had ceased 
to school it for a single minute. The very prominent nose 
formed a perfectly straight line and unfortunately gave to an 
otherwise distinguished profile, a curious resemblance to the 
physiognomy of a fox. Otherwise this abbe, who appeared so 
engrossed with Monsieur Pirard's resignation, was dressed with 
an elegance which Julien had never seen before in any priest 
and which pleased him exceedingly. 

It was only later that Julien knew in what the special talent 
of the abbe de Frilair really consisted. He knew how to 
amuse his bishop, an amiable old man made for Paris life, and 


who looked upon Besancon as exile. This Bishop had very 
bad sight, and was passionately fond of fish. The abbe de 
Frilair used to take the bones out of the fish which was served 
to my Lord. Julien looked silently at the abbe who was re- 
reading the resignation when the door suddenly opened with 
a noise. A richly dressed lackey passed in rapidly. Julien 
had only time to turn round towards the door. He perceived 
a little old man wearing a pectoral cross. He prostrated him- 
self. The Bishop addressed a benevolent smile to him and 
passed on. The handsome abbe followed him and Julien was 
left alone in the salon, and was able to admire at his leisure 
its pious magnificence. 

The Bishop of Besancon, a man whose spirit had been tried 
but not broken by the long miseries of the emigration, was 
more than seventy-five years old and concerned himself in- 
finitely little with what might happen in ten years' time. 

"Who is that clever-looking seminarist I think I saw as I 
passed ? " said the Bishop. " Oughtn't they to be in bed 
according to my regulations." 

"That one is very wide-awake I assure you, my Lord, and 
he brings great news. It is the resignation of the only 
Jansenist residing in your diocese, that terrible abbe Pirard 
realises at last that we mean business." 

11 Well," said the Bishop with a laugh. " I challenge you 
to replace him with any man of equal worth, and to show you 
how much I prize that man, I will invite him to dinner for 

The Grand Vicar tried to slide in a few words concerning 
the choice of a successor. The prelate, who was little disposed 
to talk business, said to him. 

" Before we install the other, let us get to know a little of 
the circumstances under which the present one is going. 
Fetch me this seminarist. The truth is in the mouth of 

Julien was summoned. " I shall find myself between two 
inquisitors," he thought. He had never felt more courageous. 
At the moment when he entered, two valets, better dressed 
than M. Valenod himself, were undressing my lord. That 
prelate thought he ought to question Julien on his studies 
before questioning him about M. Pirard. He talked a 
little theology, and was astonished. He soon came to the 


humanities, to Virgil, to Horace, to Cicero. " It was those 
names," thought Julien, that earned me my number 198. I 
have nothing to lose. Let us try and shine. He succeeded. 
The prelate, who was an excellent humanist himself, was 

At the prefect's dinner, a young girl who was justly 
celebrated, had recited the poem of the Madeleine. He was 
in the mood to talk literature, and very quickly forgot the 
abbe Pirard and his affairs to discuss with the seminarist 
whether Horace was rich or poor. The prelate quoted several 
odes, but sometimes his memory was sluggish, and then 
Julien would recite with modesty the whole ode : the fact 
which struck the bishop was that Julien never deviated from 
the conversational tone. He spoke his twenty or thirty Latin 
verses as though he had been speaking of what was taking 
place in his own seminary. They talked for a long time of 
Virgil, or Cicero, and the prelate could not help compliment- 
ing the young seminarist. You could not have studied better." 

" My Lord," said Julien, " your seminary can offer you 
197 much less unworthy of your high esteem." 

"How is that?" said the Prelate astonished by the 

" I can support by official proof just what I have had the 
honour of saying before my lord. I obtained the number 198 
at the seminary's annual examination by giving accurate 
answers to the very questions which are earning me at the 
present moment my lord's approbation. 

"Ah, it is the Benjamin of the abbe Pirard," said the 
Bishop with a laugh, as he looked at M. de Frilair. " We 
should have been prepared for this. But it is fair fighting. 
Did you not have to be woken up, my friend," he said, 
addressing himself to Julien. " To be sent here ? " 

" Yes, my Lord. I have only been out of the seminary alone 
once in my life to go and help M. the abbe Chas-Bernard 
decorate the cathedral on Corpus Christi day. 

" Optime," said the Bishop. " So, it is you who showed 
proof of so much courage by placing the bouquets of feathers 
on the baldachin. They make me shudder. They make me 
fear that they will cost some man his life. You will go far, my 
friend, but I do not wish to cut short your brilliant career by 
making you die of hunger." 


And by the order of the Bishop, biscuits and wine were 
brought in, to which Julien did honour, and the abbe de 
Frilair, who knew that his Bishop liked to see people eat gaily 
and with a good appetite, even greater honour. 

The prelate, more and more satisfied with the end of his 
evening, talked for a moment of ecclesiastical history. He 
saw that Julien did not understand. The prelate passed on 
to the moral condition of the Roman Empire under the system 
of the Emperor Constantine. The end of paganism had been 
accompanied by that state of anxiety and of doubt which 
afflicts sad and jaded spirits in the nineteenth century. My 
Lord noticed Julien's ignorance of almost the very name of 
Tacitus. To the astonishment of the prelate, Julien answered 
frankly that that author was not to be found in the seminary 

" I am truly very glad," said the Bishop gaily, "You 
relieve me of an embarrassment. I have been trying for the 
last five minutes to find a way of thanking you for the charm- 
ing evening which you have given me in a way that I could 
certainly never have expected. I did not anticipate finding a 
teacher in a pupil in my seminary. Although the gift is not 
unduly canonical, I want to give you a Tacitus. The prelate 
had eight volumes in a superior binding fetched for him, and 
insisted on writing himself on the title page of the first volume 
a Latin compliment to Julien Sorel. The Bishop plumed 
himself on his fine Latinity. He finished by saying to him in 
a serious tone, which completely clashed with the rest of the 

" Young man, if you are good, you will have one day the 
best living in my diocese, and one not a hundred leagues from 
my episcopal palace, but you must be good." 

Laden with his volumes, Julien left the palace in as tate of 
great astonishment as midnight was striking. 

My Lord had not said a word to him about the abbe 
Pirard. Julien was particularly astonished by the Bishop's 
extreme politeness. He had had no conception of such an 
urbanity in form combined with so natural an air of dignity. 
Julien was especially struck by the contrast on seeing again 
the gloomy abbe Pirard, who was impatiently awaiting him. 

" Quid tibi dixerunt (What have they said to you) ? " he 
cried out to him in a loud voice as soon as he saw him in the 


distance. " Speak French, and repeat my Lord's own words 
without either adding or subtracting anything," said the ex- 
Director of the seminary in his harsh tone, and with his 
particularly inelegant manners, as Julien got slightly confused 
in translating into Latin the speeches of the Bishop. 

" What a strange present on the part of the Bishop to a 
young seminarist," he ventured to say as he turned over the 
leaves of the superb Tacitus, whose gilt edges seemed to 
horrify him. 

Two o'clock was already striking when he allowed his 
favourite pupil to retire to his room after an extremely detailed 

" Leave me the first volume of your Tacitus," he said to 
him. " Where is my Lord Bishop's compliment? This Latin 
line will serve as your lightning-conductor in this house after 
my departure." 

Erit tibi, fill mi, successor meus tanquam leo querens quern 
devoret. (For my successor will be to you, my son, like a 
ravening lion seeking someone to devour). 

The following morning Julien- noticed a certain strangeness 
in the manner in which his comrades spoke to him. It only 
made him more reserved. " This," he thought, " is the result of 
M. Pirard's resignation. It is known over the whole house, 
and I pass for his favourite. There ought logically to be an 
insult in their demeanour." But he could not detect it. On 
the contrary, there was an absence of hate in the eyes of all 
those he met along the corridors. " What is the meaning of 
this? It is doubtless a trap. Let us play a wary game." 

Finally the little seminarist said to him with a laugh, 

" Cornelii Taciti opera omnia (complete works of Taciti)." 

On hearing these words, they all congratulated Julien 
enviously, not only on the magnificent present which he had 
received from my lord, but also on the two hours' conversation 
with which he had been honoured. They knew even its 
minutest details. From that moment envy ceased completely. 
They courted him basely. The abbe Castanede, who had 
manifested towards him the most extreme insolence the very 
day before, came and took his arm and invited him to breakfast. 

By some fatality in Julien's character, while the insolence of 
hese coarse creatures had occasioned him great pain, their 
baseness afforded him disgust, but no pleasure. 


Towards mid-day the abbe Pirard took leave of his pupils, 
but not before addressing to them a severe admonition. 

" Do you wish for the honours of the world," he said to 
them. " For all the social advantages, for the pleasure of 
commanding pleasures, of setting the laws at defiance, and 
the pleasure of being insolent with impunity to all ? Or do 
you wish for your eternal salvation ? The most backward of 
you have only got to open your eyes to distinguish the true 

He had scarcely left before the devotees of the SacrS Coeur 
de Jesus went into the chapel to intone a Te Deum. Nobody 
in the seminary took the ex-director's admonition seriously. 

" He shows a great deal of temper because he is losing his 
job," was what was said in every quarter. 

Not a single seminarist was simple enough to believe in the 
voluntary resignation of a position which put him into such 
close touch with the big contractors. 

The abbe Pirard went and established himself in the finest 
inn at Besancon, and making an excuse of business which he 
had not got, insisted on passing a couple of days there. The 
Bishop had invited him to dinner, and in order to chaff his 
Grand Vicar de Frilair, endeavoured to make him shine. 
They were at dessert when the extraordinary intelligence 
arrived from Paris that the abbe Pirard had been appointed to 

the magnificent living of N. four leagues from Paris. 

The good prelate congratulated him upon it. He saw in the 
whole affair a piece of good play which put him in a good 
temper and gave him the highest opinion of the abbe's talents. 
He gave him a magnificent Latin certificate, and enjoined 
silence on the abbe de Frilair, who was venturing to re- 

The same evening, my Lord conveyed his admiration to 
the Marquise de Rubempre. This was great news for fine 
Besancon society. They abandoned themselves to all kinds 
of conjectures over this extraordinary favour. They already 
saw the abbe Pirard a Bishop. The more subtle brains 
thought M. de la Mole was a minister, and indulged on this 
day in smiles at the imperious airs that M. the abbe de Frilair 
adopted in society. 

The following day the abbe Pirard was almost mobbed in 
the streets, and the tradesmen came to their shop doors when 


he went to solicit an interview with the judges who had had to 
try the Marquis's lawsuit. For the first time in his life he was 
politely received by them. The stern Jansenist, indignant as he 
was with all that he saw, worked long with the advocates whom 
he had chosen for the Marquis de la Mole, and left for Paris. 
He was weak enough to tell two or three college friends who 
accompanied him to the carriage whose armorial bearings they 
admired, that after having administered the Seminary for 
fifteen years he was leaving Besancon with five hundred and 
twenty francs of savings. His friends kissed him with tears 
in their eyes, and said to each other, 

" The good abbe could have spared himself that lie. It is 
really too ridiculous." 

The vulgar, blinded as they are by the love of money, were 
constitutionally incapable of understanding that it was in his 
own sincerity that the abbe Pirard had found the necessary 
strength to fight for six years against Marie Alacoque, the 
Sacri Coeur de Jems, the Jesuits and his Bishop. 



There is only one nobility, the title of duke ; a marquis is 
ridiculous ; the word duke makes one turn round. 

Edinburgh Review. 

The Marquis de la Mole received the abbe Pirard without any 
of those aristocratic mannerisms whose very politeness is at 
the same time so impertinent to one who understands them. 
It would have been waste of time, and the Marquis was 
sufficiently expeditious in big affairs to have no time to lose. 

He had been intriguing for six months to get both the king 
and people to accept a minister who, as a matter of gratitude, 
was to make him a Duke. The Marquis had been asking his 
Besancon advocate for years on end for a clear and precise 
summary of his Franche-Comte lawsuits. How could the 
celebrated advocate explain to him what he did not understand 
himself? The little square of paper which the abbe handed 
him explained the whole matter. 

" My dear abbe," said the Marquis to him, having got 
through in less than five minutes all polite formulae of personal 
questions. " My dear abbe, in the midst of my pretended 
prosperity I lack the time to occupy myself seriously with two 
little matters which are rather important, my family and my 
affairs. I manage the fortune of my house on a large scale. 
I can carry it far. I manage my pleasures, and that is the 
first consideration in my eyes," he added, as he saw a look of 
astonishment in the abbe Pirard's eyes. Although a man of 
common sense, the abbe was surprised to hear a man talk so 
frankly about his pleasures. 

" Work doubtless exists in Paris," continued the great lord, 
" but it is perched on the fifth story, and as soon as I take 
anyone up, he takes an apartment on the second floor, and 


his wife starts a day at home ; the result is no more work and 
no more efforts except either to be, or appear to be, a 
society man. That is the only thing they bother about, as 
soon as they have got their bread and butter. 

" For my lawsuits, yes, for every single one of them, I have, 
to put it plainly, advocates who quarrel to death. One 
died of consumption the day before yesterday. Taking my 
business all round, would you believe, monsieur, that for three 
years I have given up all hope of finding a man who deigns, 
during the time he is acting as my clerk, to give a little 
serious thought to what he is doing. Besides, all this is only 
a preliminary. 

" I respect you and would venture to add that, although I 
only see you for the first time; to-day, I like you. Will you be 
my secretary at a salary of eight hundred francs or even 
double. I shall still be the gainer by it, I swear to you, and I 
will manage to reserve that fine living for you for the day 
when we shall no longer be able to agree." The abbe refused, 
but the genuine embarrassment in which he saw the Marquis 
suggested an idea to him towards the end of the conversation. 

" I have left in the depths of my seminary a poor young 
man who, if I mistake not, will be harshly persecuted. If he 
were only a simple monk he would be already in pace. So 
far this young man only knows Latin and the Holy Scriptures, 
but it is not impossible that he will one day exhibit great 
talent, either for preaching or the guiding of souls. I do not 
know what he will do, but he has the sacred fire. He may go 
far. I thought of giving him to our Bishop, if we had ever had 
one who was a little of your way of considering men and 

" What is your young man's extraction ? " said the Marquis. 

" He is said to be the son of a carpenter in our mountains. 
I rath er believe he is the natural son of some rich man. I 
have seen him receive an anonymous or pseudonymous letter 
with bill for five hundred francs." 

" Oh, it is Julien Sorel," said the Marquis. 

" How do you know his name ? " said the abbe, in 
astonishment, reddening at his question. 

"That's what I'm not going to tell you," answered the 

"Well," replied the abbe, "you might try making him 


your secretary. He has energy. He has a logical mind. In 
a word, it's worth trying." 

"Why not?" said the Marquis. "But would he be the 
kind of man to allow his palm to be greased by the Prefect of 
Police or any one else and then spy on me ? That is only my 

After hearing the favourable assurances of the abbe Pirard, 
the Marquis took a thousand franc note. 

" Send this journey money to Julien Sorel. Let him come 
to me." 

" One sees at once," said the abbe Pirard, " that you live 
in Paris. You do not know the tyranny which weighs us 
poor provincials down, and particularly those priests who are 
not friendly to the Jesuits. They will refuse to let Julien 
Sorel leave. They will manage to cloak themselves in the 
most clever excuses. They will answer me that he is ill, that 
his letters were lost in the post, etc., etc." 

" I will get a letter from the minister to the Bishop, one of 
these days," answered the Marquis. 

" I was forgetting to warn you of one thing," said the abbe. 
" This young man, though of low birth, has a high spirit. He 
will be of no use if you madden his pride. You will make 
him stupid." 

" That pleases me," said the Marquis. " I will make him 
my son's comrade. Will that be enough for you ? " 

Some time afterwards, Julien received a letter in an unknown 
writing, and bearing the Chlon postmark. He found in it 
a draft on a Besancon merchant, and instructions to present 
himself at Paris without delay. The letter was signed in a 
fictitious name, but Julien had felt a thrill in opening it. A 
leaf of a tree had fallen down at his feet. It was the agreed 
signal between himself and the abbe Pirard. 

Within an hour's time, Julien was summoned to the Bishop's 
Palace, where he found himself welcomed with a quite paternal 
benevolence. My lord quoted Horace and at the same time 
complimented him very adroitly on the exalted destiny which 
awaited him in Paris in such a way as to elicit an explanation 
by way of thanks. Julien was unable to say anything, simply 
because he did not know anything, and my Lord showed him 
much consideration. One of the little priests in the bishopric 
wrote to the mayor, who hastened to bring in person a signed 


passport, where the name of the traveller had been left in 

Before midnight of the same evening, Julien was at Fouque's. 
His friend's shrewd mind was more astonished than pleased 
with the future which seemed to await his friend. 

" You will finish up," said that Liberal voter, " with a place 
in the Government, which will compel you to take some step 
which will be calumniated. It will only be by your own 
disgrace that I shall have news of you. Remember that, 
even from the financial standpoint, it is better to earn a 
hundred louis in a good timber business, of which one is his 
own master, than to receive four thousand francs from a 
Government, even though it were that of King Solomon." 

Julien saw nothing in this except the pettiness of spirit 
of a country bourgeois. At last he was going to make an 
appearance in the theatre of great events. Everything was 
over-shadowed in his eyes by the happiness of going to Paris, 
which he imagined to be populated by people of intellect, full 
of intrigues and full of hypocrisy, but as polite as the Bishop 
of Besancon and the Bishop of Agde. He represented to 
his friend that he was deprived of any free choice in the matter 
by the abbe Pirard's letter. 

The following day he arrived at Verrieres about noon. He 
felt the happiest of men for he counted on seeing Madame de 
Renal again. He went first to his protector the good abbe 
Chelan. He met with a severe welcome. 

" Do you think you are under any obligation to me ? " said 
M. Chelan to him, without answering his greeting. " You 
will take breakfast with me. During that time I will have a 
horse hired for you and you will leave Verrieres without 
seeing anyone." 

" Hearing is obeying," answered Julien with a demeanour 
smacking of the seminary, and the only questions now 
discussed were theology and classical Latin. 

He mounted his horse, rode a league, and then perceiving 
a wood and not seeing any one who could notice him enter, 
he plunged into it. At sunset, he sent away the horse. 
Later, he entered the cottage of a peasant, who consented to 
sell him a ladder and to follow him with it to the little wood 
which commands the Cours de la Fidelite at Verrieres. 

" I have been following a poor mutineer of a conscript , . . 


or a smuggler," said the peasant as he took leave of him, " but 
what does it matter ? My ladder has been well paid for, and 
I myself have done a thing or two in that line." 

The night was very black. Towards one o'clock in the 
morning, Julien, laden with his ladder, entered Verrieres. 
He descended as soon as he could into the bed of the stream, 
which is banked within two walls, and traverses M. de Renal's 
magnificent gardens at a depth of ten feet. Julien easily 
climbed up the ladder. " How will the watch dogs welcome 
me," he thought. " It all turns on that." The dogs barked 
and galloped towards him, but he whistled softly and they 
came and caressed him. Then climbing from terrace to 
terrace he easily managed, although all the grills were shut, 
to get as far as the window of Madame de Renal's bedroom 
which, on the garden side, was only eight or six feet above 
the ground. There was a little heart shaped opening in the 
shutters which Julien knew well. To his great disappoint- 
ment, this little opening was not illuminated by the flare of 
a little night-light inside. 

"Good God," he said to himself. "This room is not 
occupied by Madame de Renal. Where can she be sleeping ? 
The family must be at Verrieres since I have found the dogs 
here, but I might meet M. de Renal himself, or even a 
stranger in this room without a light, and then what a 
scandal ! " The most prudent course was to retreat, but this 
idea horrified Julien. 

" If it's a stranger, I will run away for all I'm worth, and 
leave my ladder behind me, but if it is she, what a welcome 
awaits me ! I can well imagine that she has fallen into a 
mood of penitence and the most exalted piety, but after all, 
she still has some remembrance of me, since she has written 
to me." This bit of reasoning decided him. 

With a beating heart, but resolved none the less to see her 
or perish in the attempt, he threw some little pebbles against 
the shutter. No answer. He leaned his long ladder beside 
the window, and himself knocked on the shutter, at first 
softly, and then more strongly. " However dark it is, they 
may still shoot me," thought Julien. This idea made the mad 
adventure simply a question of bravery. 

"This room is not being slept in to-night," he thought, 
"or whatever person might be there would have woken up 


by now. So far as it is concerned, therefore, no further 
precautions are needed. I must only try not to be heard by 
the persons sleeping in the other rooms." 

He descended, placed his ladder against one of the shutters, 
climbed up again, and placing his hand through the heart- 
shaped opening, was fortunate enough to find pretty quickly 
the wire which is attached to the hook which closed the 
shutter. He pulled this wire. It was with an ineffable joy 
that he felt that the shutter was no longer held back, and 
yielded to his effort. 

I must open it bit by bit and let her recognise my voice. 
He opened the shutter enough to pass his head through it, 
while he repeated in a low voice, " It's a friend." 

He pricked up his ears and assured himself that nothing 
disturbed the profound silence of the room, but there could 
be no doubt about it, there was no light, even half-extinguished, 
on the mantelpiece. It was a very bad sign. 

" Look out for the gun-shot," he reflected a little, then he 
ventured to knock against rhe window with his finger. No 
answer. He knocked harder. I must finish it one way or 
another, even if I have to break the window. When he was 
knocking very hard, he thought he could catch a glimpse 
through the darkness of something like a white shadow that 
was crossing the room. At last there was no doubt about it. 
He saw a shadow which appeared to advance with extreme 
slowness. Suddenly he saw a cheek placed against the pane 
to which his eye was glued. 

He shuddered and went away a little, but the night was so 
black that he could not, even at this distance, distinguish if it 
were Madame de Renal. He was frightened of her crying out 
at first in alarm. He heard the dogs prowling and growling 
around the foot of the ladder. " It is I," he repeated fairly 
loudly. " A friend." 

No answer. The white phantom had disappeared. 

" Deign to open to me. I must speak to you. I am too 
unhappy." And he knocked hard enough to break the 

A crisp sound followed. The casement fastening of the 
window yielded. He pushed the casement and leaped lightly 
into the room. 

The white phantom flitted away from him. He took hold 


of its arms. It was a woman. All his ideas of courage 
vanished. " If it is she, what is she going to say?" What 
were his emotions when a little cry gave him to understand, 
that it was Madame de Renal ? 

He clasped her in his arms. She trembled and scarcely 
had the strength to push him away. 

" Unhappy man. What are you doing ? " Her agonised 
voice could scarcely articulate the words. 

Julien thought that her voice rang with the most genuine 

" I have come to see you after a cruel separation of more 
than fourteen months." 

" Go away, leave me at once. Oh, M. Chelan, why did you 
prevent me writing to him ? I could then have foreseen this 
horror." She pushed him away with a truly extraordinary 
strength. " Heaven has deigned to enlighten me," she repeated 
in a broken voice. " Go away ! Flee ! " 

"After fourteen months of unhappiness I shall certainly 
not leave you without a word. I want to know all you have 
done. Yes, I have loved you enough to deserve this con- 
fidence. I want to know everything." This authoritative 
tone dominated Madame de Renal's heart in spite of herself. 
Julien, who was hugging her passionately and resisting her 
efforts to get loose, left off clasping her in his arms. This 
reassured Madame de Renal a little. 

" I will take away the ladder," he said, " to prevent it com- 
promising us in case some servant should be awakened by the 
noise, and go on a round." 

" Oh leave me, leave me ! " she cried with an admirable 
anger. " What do men matter to me ! It is God who sees 
the awful scene you are now making. You are abusing 
meanly the sentiments which I had for you but have no 
longer. Do you hear, Monsieur Julien ? '' 

He took away the ladder very slowly so as not to make a 

" Is your husband in town, dear," he said to her not in 
order to defy her but as a sheer matter of habit. 

" Don't talk to me like that, I beg you, or I will call my 
husband. I feel only too guilty in not having sent you away 
before. I pity you," she said to him, trying to wound his, 
as she well knew, irritable pride 


This refusal of all endearments, this abrupt way of breaking 
so tender a tie which he thought still subsisted, carried the 
transports of Julien's love to the point of delirium. 

" What ! is it possible you do not love me ? " he said to her, 
with one of those accents that come straight from the heart 
and impose a severe strain on the cold equanimity of the 

She did not answer. As for him, he wept bitterly. 

In fact he had no longer the strength to speak. 

" So I am completely forgotten by the one being who ever 
loved me, what is the good of living on henceforth ? " As 
soon as he had no longer to fear the danger of meeting a man 
all his courage had left him; his heart now contained no 
emotion except that of love. 

He wept for a long time in silence. 

He took her hand ; she tried to take it away, and after a 
few almost convulsive moments, surrendered it to him. It 
was extremely dark; they were both sitting on MaJame de 
Renal's bed. 

" What a change from fourteen months ago," thought 
Julien, and his tears redoubled. "So absence is really 
bound to destroy all human sentiments." 

" Deign to tell me what has happened to you ? " Julien 
said at last. 

" My follies," answered Madame de Renal in a hard voice 
whose frigid intonation contained in it a certain element of 
reproach, " were no doubt known in the town when you left, 
your conduct was so imprudent. Some time afterwards when 
I was in despair the venerable Chelan came to see me. He 
tried in vain for a long time to obtain a confession. One day 
he took me to that church at Dijon where I made my first 

communion. In that place he ventured to speak himself " 

Madame de Renal was interrupted by her tears. " What a 
moment of shame. I confessed everything. The good man 
was gracious enough not to overwhelm me with the weight of 
his indignation. He grieved with me. During that time I 
used to write letters to you every day which I never ventured 
to send. I hid them carefully and when I was more than 
usually unhappy I shut myself up in my room and read over 
my letters." 

" At last M. Chelan induced me to hand them over to him, 



some of them written a little more discreetly were sent to you, 
you never answered." 

" I never received any letters from you, I swear ! " 

" Great heavens ! Who can have intercepted them ? 
Imagine my grief until the day I saw you in the cathedral. 
I did not know if you were still alive." 

" God granted me the grace of understanding how much I 
was sinning towards Him, towards my children, towards my 
husband," went on Madame de Renal. " He never loved me 
in the way that I then thought that you had loved me." 

Julien rushed into her arms, as a matter of fact without any 
particular purpose and feeling quite beside himself. But 
Madame de Renal repelled him and continued fairly firmly. 

" My venerable friend, M. Chelan, made me understand that 
in marrying I had plighted all my affections, even those which I 
did not then know, and which I had never felt before a certain 
fatal attachment . . . after the great sacrifice of the letters 
that were so dear to me, my life has flowed on, if not happily, 
at any rate calmly. Do not disturb it. Be a friend to me, 
my best friend." Julien covered her hand with kisses. She 
perceived he was still crying. " Do not cry, you pain me so 
much. Tell me, in your turn, what you have been doing," 
Julien was unable to speak. " I want to know the life you lead 
at the seminary," she repeated. "And then you will go." 

Without thinking about what he was saying Julien spoke ol 
the numberless intrigues and jealousies which he had first en 
countered, and then of the great serenity of his life after h 
had been made a tutor. 

" It was then," he added, " that after a long silence which was 
no doubt intended to make me realise what I see only too clearly 
to-day, that you no longer loved me and that I had become 
a matter of indifference to you. . . ." 

Madame de Renal wrung her hands. 

" It was then that you sent me the sum of five hundred 

" Never," said Madame de Renal. 

" It was a letter stamped Paris and signed Paul Sorel so as 
to avert suspicion." 

There was a little discussion about how the letter could 
possibly have originated. 

The psychological situation was altered. Without knowing 


it Julien had abandoned his solemn tone; they were now 
once more on the footing of a tender affection. It was so 
dark that they did not see each other but the tone of their 
voices was eloquent of everything. Julien clasped his arm 
round- his love's waist. This movement had its dangers. 
She tr ed to put Julien's arms away from her ; at this juncture 
he cleverly diverted her attention by an interesting detail in 
his story. The arm was practically forgotten and remained in 
its present position. 

After many conjectures as to the origin of the five hundred 
francs letter, Julien took up his story. He regained a little of 
his self-control as he spoke of his past life, which compared 
with what he was now experiencing interested him so little. 
His attention was now concentrated on the final outcome of 
of his visit. " You will have to go," were the curt words he 
heard from time to time. 

" What a disgrace for me if I am dismissed. My remorse 
will embitter all my life," he said to himself, " she will never 
write to me. God knows when I shall come back to this part 
of the country. From this moment Julien's heart became 
rapidly oblivious of all the heavenly delights of his present 

Seated as he was close to a woman whom he adored and 
practically clasping her in his arms in this room, the scene of his 
former happiness, amid a deep obscurity, seeing quite clearly as 
he did that she had just started crying, and feeling that she was 
sobbing from the heaving of her chest, he was unfortunate 
enough to turn into a cold diplomatist, nearly as cold as in 
those days when in the courtyard of the seminary he found 
himself the butt of some malicious joke on the part of one of 
his comrades who was stronger than he was. Julien pro- 
tracted his story by talking of his unhappy life since his 
departure from Verrieres. 

" So," said Madame de Renal to herself, " after a year's 
absence and deprived almost entirely of all tokens of memory 
while I myself was forgetting him, he only thought of the 
happy days that he had had in Verrieres." Her sobs redoubled. 
Julien saw the success of his story. He realised that he must 
play his last card. He abruptly mentioned a letter he had 
just received from Paris. 

" I have taken leave of my Lord Bishop." 


" What ! you are not going back to Besangon ? You are 
leaving us for ever ? " 

" Yes," answered Julien resolutely, " yes, I am leaving a 
country where I have been forgotten even by the woman 
whom I loved more than anyone in my life; I am leaving 
it and I shall never see it again. I am going to Paris." 

u You are going to Paris, dear," exclaimed Madame Renal. 

Her voice was almost choked by her tears and showed the 
extremity of her trouble. Julien had need of this encourage- 
ment. He was on the point of executing a manoeuvre which 
might decide everything against him ; and up to the time of 
this exclamation he could not tell what effect he was 
producing as he was unable to see. He no longer hesitated. 
The fear of remorse gave him complete control over himself. 
He coldly added as he got up. 

" Yes, madame, I leave you for ever. May you be happy. 

He moved some steps towards the window. He began to 
open it. Madame de Renal rushed to him and threw herself 
into his arms. So it was in this way that, after a dialogue 
lasting three hours, Julien obtained what he desired so 
passionately during the first two hours. 

Madame de Renal's return to her tender feelings and this 
overshadowing of her remorse would have been a divine 
happiness had they come a little earlier; but, as they had 
been obtained by artifice, they were simply a pleasure. 
Julien insisted on lighting the nightlight in spite of his 
mistress's opposition. 

" Do you wish me then," he said to her " to have no 
recollection of having seen you." Is the love in those 
charming eyes to be lost to me for ever ? Is the whiteness 
of that pretty hand to remain invisible ? Remember that 
perhaps I am leaving you for a very long time." 

Madame de Renal could refuse him nothing. His argument 
made her melt into tears. But the dawn was beginning to 
throw into sharp relief the outlines of the pine trees on 
the mountain east of Verrieres. Instead of going away 
Julien, drunk with pleasure, asked Madame de Renal to let him 
pass the day in her room and leave the following night. 

"And why not?" she answered. " This fatal relapse robs 
me of all my respect and will mar all my life," and she 


pressed him to her heart. My husband is no longer the 
same ; he has suspicions, he believes I led him the way I 
wanted in all this business, and shows great irritation 
against me. If he hears the slightest noise I shall be 
ruined, he will hound me out like the unhappy woman that 
I am." 

" Ah here we have a phrase of M. Chelan's," said Julien 
" you would not have talked like that before my cruel departure 
to the seminary ; in those days you used to love me," 

Julien was rewarded for the frigidity which he put into 
those words. He saw his love suddenly forget the danger 
which her husband's presence compelled her to run, in 
thinking of the much greater danger of seeing Julien doubt 
her love. The daylight grew rapidly brighter and vividly 
illuminated the room. Julien savoured once more all the 
deliciousness of pride, when he saw this charming woman in 
his arms and almost at his feet, the only woman whom he 
had ever loved, and who had been entirely absorbed only a 
few hours before by her fear of a terrible God and her 
devotion to her duties. Resolutions, fortified by a year's 
persuasion, had failed to hold out against his courage. 

They soon heard a noise in the house. A matter that 
Madame de Renal had not thought of began to trouble 

"That wicked Elisa will come into the room. What are we 
to do with this enormous ladder ? " she said to her sweetheart, 
" where are we to hide it ? I will take it to the loft," she 
exclaimed suddenly half playfully. 

" But you will have to pass through the servants' room," 
said Julien in astonishment. 

" I will leave the ladder in the corridor and will call the 
servant and send him on an errand." 

" Think of some explanation to have ready in the event 
of a servant passing the ladder and noticing it in the 

" Yes, my angel," said Madame de Renal giving him a kiss 
" as for you, dear, remember to hide under the bed pretty 
quickly if Elisa enters here during my absence." 

Julien was astonished by this sudden gaiety "So" he 
thought, " the approach of a real danger instead of troubling 
her gives her back her spirits before she forgets her remorse. 


Truly a superior woman. Yes, that's a heart over which 
it is glorious to reign." Julien was transported with 

Madame de Renal took the ladder, which was obviously too 
heavy for her. Julien went to her help. He was admiring 
that elegant figure which was so far from betokening any 
strength when she suddenly seized the ladder without 
assistance and took it up as if it had been a chair. She took 
it rapidly into the corridor of the third storey where she laid 
it alongside the wall. She called a servant, and in order to 
give him time to dress himself, went up into the dovecot. 

Five minutes later, when she came back to the corridor, 
she found no signs of the ladder. What had happened to it ? 
If Julien had been out of the house she would not have 
minded the danger in the least. But supposing her husband 
were to see the ladder just now, the incident might be awful. 
Madame de Renal ran all over the house. 

Madame de Renal finally discovered the ladder under the 
roof where the servant had carried it and even hid it. 

" What does it matter what happens in twenty-four hours," 
she thought, " when Julien will be gone ? " 

She had a vague idea that she ought to take leave of life 
but what mattered her duty ? He was restored to her after a 
separation which she had thought eternal. She was seeing 
him again and the efforts he had made to reach her showed 
the extent of his love. 

" What shall I say to my husband," she said to him. " If 
the servant tells him he found this ladder ? " She was pensive 
for a moment. " They will need twenty-four hours to discover 
the peasant who sold it to you." And she threw herself into 
Julien's arms and clasped him convulsively. 

" Oh, if I could only die like this," she cried covering him 
with kisses. " But you mustn't die of starvation," she said 
with a smile. 

" Come, I will first hide you in Madame Derville's room 
which is always locked." She went and watched at the other 
end of the corridor and Julien ran in. " Mind you don't try 
and open if any one knocks," she said as she locked him in. 
" Anyway it would only be a frolic of the children as they 
play together." 

" Get them to come into the garden under the window," 


said Julien, " so that I may have the pleasure of seeing them. 
Make them speak." 

" Yes, yes," cried Madame de Renal to him as she went 
away. She soon returned with oranges, biscuits and a bottle 
of Malaga wine. She had not been able to steal any bread. 

" What is your husband doing ? " said Julien. 

" He is writing out the figures of the bargains he is going to 
make with the peasants." 

But eight o'clock had struck and they were making a lot of 
noise in the house. If Madame de Renal failed to put in an 
appearance, they would look for her all over the house. She 
was obliged to leave him. Soon she came back, in defiance 
of all prudence, bringing him a cup of coffee. She was 
frightened lest he should die of starvation. 

She managed after breakfast to bring the children under 
the window of Madame Derville's room. He thought they 
had grown a great deal, but they had begun to look common, 
or else his ideas had changed. Madame de Renal spoke to 
them about Julien. The elder answered in an affectionate 
tone and regretted his old tutor, but he found that the younger 
children had almost forgotten him. 

M. de Renal did not go out that morning ; he was going up 
and downstairs incessantly engaged in bargaining with some 
peasants to whom he was selling potatoes. 

Madame de Renal did not have an instant to give to her 
prisoner until dinner-time. When the bell had been rung 
and dinner had been served, it occurred to her to steal a plate 
of warm soup for him. As she noiselessly approached the 
door of the room which he occupied, she found herself face 
to face with the servant who had hid the ladder in the 
morning. At the time he too was going noiselessly along the 
corridor, as though listening for something. The servant 
took himself off in some confusion. 

Madame de Renal boldly entered Julien's room. The 
news of this encounter made him shudder. 

" You are frightened," she said to him, " but I would brave 
all the dangers in the world without flinching. There is only 
one thing I fear, and that is the moment when I shall be alone 
after you have left," and she left him and ran downstairs. 

"Ah," thought Julien ecstatically, "remorse is the only 
panger which this sublime soul is afraid of." 


At last evening came. Monsieur de Renal went to the 

His wife had given out that she was suffering from an 
awful headache. She went to her room, hastened to dismiss 
Elisa and quickly got up in order to let Julien out. 

He was literally starving. Madame de Renal went to the 
pantry to fetch some bread. Julien heard a loud cry. 
Madame de Renal came back and told him that when she 
went to the dark pantry and got near the cupboard where 
they kept the bread, she had touched a woman's arm as she 
stretched out her hand. It was Elisa who had uttered the 
cry Julien had heard. 

" What was she doing there ? " 

"Stealing some sweets or else spying on us," said Madame 
de Renal with complete indifference, " but luckily I found a 
pie and a big loaf of bread." 

" But what have you got there ? " said Julien pointing to 
the pockets of her apron. 

Madame de Renal had forgotten that they had been filled 
with bread since dinner. 

Julien clasped her in his arms with the most lively passion. 
She had never seemed to him so beautiful. " I could not 
meet a woman of greater character even at Paris," he said 
confusedly to himself. She combined all the clumsiness of a 
woman who was but little accustomed to paying attentions of 
this kind, with all the genuine courage of a person who is 
only afraid of dangers of quite a different sphere and quite a 
different kind of awfulness. 

While Julien was enjoying his supper with a hearty appetite 
and his sweetheart was rallying him on the simplicity of the 
meal, the door of the room was suddenly shaken violently. 
It was M. de Renal. 

" Why have you shut yourself in ? " he cried to her. 

Julien had only just time to slip under the sofa. 

On any ordinary day Madame de Renal would have been 
upset by this question which was put with true conjugal 
harshness ; but she realised that M. de Renal had only to bend 
down a little to notice Julien, for M. de Renal had flung 
himself into the chair opposite the sofa which Julien had been 
sitting in one moment before. 

Her headache served as an excuse for everything. While 


her husband on his side went into a long-winded account of 
the billiards pool which he had won at Casino, "yes, to be 
sure a nineteen franc pool," he added. She noticed Julien's hat 
on a chair three paces in front of them. Her self-possession 
became twice as great, she began to undress, and rapidly 
passing one minute behind her husband threw her dress over 
the chair with the hat on it. 

At last M. de Renal left. She begged Julien to start over 
again his account of his life at the Seminary. " I was not 
listening to you yesterday all the time you were speaking, I 
was only thinking of prevailing on myself to send you away." 

She was the personification of indiscretion. They talked 
very loud and about two o'clock in the morning they were 
interrupted by a violent knock at the door. It was M. de 
Renal again. 

" Open quickly, there are thieves in the house ! " he said. 
" Saint Jean found their ladder this morning." 

" This is the end of everything," cried Madame de Renal, 
throwing herself into Julien's arms. " He will kill both of us, 
he doesn't believe there are any thieves. I will die in your 
arms, and be more happy in my death than I ever was in my 
life." She made no attempt to answer her husband who was 
beginning to lose his temper, but started kissing Julien 

" Save Stanislas's mother," he said to her with an imperious 
look. " I will jump down into the courtyard through the 
lavatory window, and escape in the garden ; the dogs have 
recognised me. Make my clothes into a parcel and throw 
them into the garden as soon as you can. In the meanwhile 
let him break the door down. But above all, no confession, 
I forbid you to confess, it is better that he should suspect 
rather than be certain." 

" You will kill yourself as you jump ! " was her only answer 
and her only anxiety. 

She went with him to the lavatory window ; she then took 
sufficient time to hide his clothes. She finally opened the 
door to her husband who was boiling with rage. He looked 
in the room and in the lavatory without saying a word and 
disappeared. Julien's clothes were thrown down to him ; he 
seized them and ran rapidly towards the bottom of the garden 
in the direction of the Doubs. 


As he was running he heard a bullet whistle past him, and 
heard at the same time the report of a gun. 

" It is not M. de Renal," he thought, " he's far too bad a 
shot." The dogs ran silently at his side, the second shot 
apparently broke the paw of one dog, for he began to whine 
piteously. Julien jumped the wall of the terrace, did fifty 
paces under cover, and began to fly in another direction. He 
heard voices calling and had a distinct view of his enemy the 
servant firing a gun ; a farmer also began to shoot away from 
the other side of the garden. Julien had already reached the 
bank of the Doubs where he dressed himself. 

An hour later he was a league from Verrieres on the Geneva 
road. "If they had suspicions," thought Julien, "they will 
look for me on the Paris road." 



O rus quando ego te aspirfam? Horace 

" You've no doubt come to wait for the Paris mail," Monsieur, 
said the host of an inn where he had stopped to breakfast. 

"To-day or to-morrow, it matters little," said Julien. 

The mail arrived while he was still posing as indifferent. 
There were two free places. 

"Why ! it's you my poor Falcoz," said the traveller who was 
coming from the Geneva side to the one who was getting in at 
the same time as Julien. 

" I thought you were settled in the outskirts of Lyons," 
said Falcoz, " in a delicious valley near the Rhne." 

" Nicely settled ! I am running away." 

" What ! you are running away ? you Saint Giraud ! Have 
you, who look so virtuous, committed some crime?" said 
Falcoz with a smile. 

" On my faith it comes to the same thing. I am running 
away from the abominable life which one leads in the pro- 
vinces. I like the freshness of the woods and the country 
tranquillity, as you know. You have often accused me 01 
being romantic. I don't want to hear politics talked as long 
as I live, and politics are hounding me out." 

" But what party do you belong to ? " 

"To none and that's what ruins me. That's all there is to 
be said about my political life I like music and painting. A 
good book is an event for me. I am going to be forty-four. 
How much longer have I got to live ? Fifteen twenty thirty 
years at the outside. Well, I want the ministers in thirty 
years' time to be a little cleverer than those of to-day but quite 
as honest. The history of England serves as a mirror for our 


own future. There will always be a king who will try to in- 
crease his prerogative. The ambition of becoming a deputy, 
the fame of Mirabeau and the hundreds of thousand francs 
which he won for himself will always prevent the rich people 
in the province from going to sle^p : they will call that being 
Liberal and loving the people. The desire of becoming a 
peer or a gentleman of the chamoer will always win over the 
ultras. On the ship of state every one is anxious to take 
over the steering because it is well paid. Will there be never 
a poor little place for the simple passenger ? " 

" Is it the last elections which are forcing you out of the 
province ? " 

" My misfortune goes further back. Four years ago I was 
forty and possessed 500,000 francs. I am four years older 
to-day and probably 50,000 francs to the bad, as I shall lose 
that sum on the sale of my chteau of Monfleury in a superb 
position near the Rhne. 

" At Paris I was tired of that perpetual comedy which is 
rendered obligatory by what you call nineteenth-century 
civilisation. I thirsted for good nature and simplicity. I 
bought an estate in the mountains near the Rhne, there was 
no more beautiful place under the heavens. 

" The village clergyman and the gentry of the locality pay 
me court for six months ; I invite them to dinner ; I have left 
Paris, I tell them, so as to avoid talking politics or hearing 
politics talked for the rest of my life. As you know I do not 
subscribe to any paper, the less letters the postman brought 
me the happier I was. 

" That did not suit the vicar's book. I was soon the victim of 
a thousand unreasonable requests, annoyances, etc. I wished 
to give two or three hundred francs a year to the poor, I was 
asked to give it to the Paris associations, that of Saint Joseph, 
that of the Virgin, etc. I refused. I was then insulted in a 
hundred ways. I was foolish enough to be upset by it. I 
could not go out in the morning to enjoy the beauty of our 
mountain without finding some annoyance which distracted 
me from my reveries and recalled unpleasantly both men and 
their wickedness. On the Rogation processions, for instance 
whose chanting I enjoy (it is probably a Greek melody) they 
will not bless my fields because, says the clergyman, they 
belong to an infidel. A cow dies belonging to a devout old 


peasant woman. She says the reason is the neighbourhood of 
a pond which belongs to my infidel self, a philosopher coming 
from Paris, and eight days afterwards I find my fish in agonies 
poisoned by lime. Intrigue in all its forms envelops me. The 
justice of the peace, who is an honest man, but frightened of 
losing his place, always decides against me. The peace of the 
country proved a hell for me. Once they saw that I was 
abandoned by the vicar, the head of the village congregation, 
and that I was not supported by the retired captain who was 
the head of the Liberals they all fell upon me, down to the 
mason whom I had supported for a year, down to the very 
wheel-wright who wanted to cheat me with impunity over the 
repairing of my ploughs. 

" In order to find some support, and to win at any rate some 
of my law suits I became a Liberal, but, as you say, those 
damned elections come along. They asked me for my vote." 
" For an unknown man ? " 

" Not at all, for a man whom I knew only too well. I re- 
fused. It was terribly imprudent. From that moment I had 
the Liberals on my hands as well, and my position became 
intolerable. I believe that if the vicar had got it into his head 
to accuse me of assassinating my servant, there would be 
twenty witnesses of the two parties who would swear that they 
had seen me committing the crime." 

" You mean to say you want to live in the country without 
pandering to the passions of your neighbours, without even 
listening to their gossip. What a mistake ! " 

" It is rectified at last. Monfleury is for sale. I will lose 
50,000 francs if necessary, but I am over-joyed I am leaving 
that hell of hypocrisy and annoyance. I am going to look for 
solitude and rustic peace in the only place where those things 
are to be found in France, on a fourth storey looking on to the . 
Champs-Elysees ; and, moreover, I am actually deliberating if I 
shall not commence my political career by giving consecrated 
bread to the parish in the Roule quarter." 

" All this would not have happened under Bonaparte," said 
Falcoz with eyes shining with rage and sorrow. 

" Very good, but why didn't your Bonaparte manage to 
keep his position? Everything which I suffer to-day is his 

At this point Julien's attention was redoubled. He had 


realised from the first word that the Bonapartist Falcoz was 
the old boyhood friend of M. de Renal, who had been repudiated 
by him in 18 16, and that the philosopher Saint-Giraud must 

be the brother of that chief of the prefecture of who 

managed to get the houses of the municipality knocked down 
to him at a cheap price. 

" And all this is the work of your Bonaparte. An honest 
man, aged forty, and possessed of five hundred thousand francs 
however inoffensive he is, cannot settle in the provinces 
and find peace there ; those priests and nobles of his will turn 
him out." 

" Oh don't talk evil of him," exclaimed Falcoz. " France 
was never so high in the esteem of the nations as during the 
thirteen years of his reign ; then every single act was great." 

" Your emperor, devil take him," replied the man of forty- 
four, "was only great on his battle fields and when he re- 
organised the finances about 1802. What is the meaning of 
all his conduct since then ? What with his chamberlains, his 
pomp, and his receptions in the Tuileries, he has simply pro- 
vided a new edition of all the monarchical tomfoolery. It 
was a revised edition and might possibly have lasted for a 
century or two. The nobles and the priests wish to go back 
to the old one, but they did not have the iron hand necessary 
to impose it on the public." 

" Yes, that's just how an old printer would talk." 

"Who has turned me out of my estate?" continued the 
printer, angrily. "The priests, whom Napoleon called back 
by his Concordat instead of treating them like the State treats 
doctors, barristers, and astronomers, simply seeing in them 
ordinary citizens, and not bothering about the particular 
calling by which they are trying to earn their livelihood. Should 
we be saddled with these insolent gentlemen today, if your 
Bonaparte had not created barons and counts? No, they 
were out of fashion. Next to the priests, it's the little country 
nobility who have annoyed me the most, and compelled me 
to become a Liberal." 

The conversation was endless. The theme will occupy 
France for another half-century. As Saint-Giraud kept always 
repeating that it was impossible to live in the provinces, Julien 
timidly suggested the case of M. de Renal. 

" Zounds, young man, you're a nice one," exclaimed Falcoz 


" He turned spider so as not to be fly, and a terrible spider 
into the bargain. But I see that he is beaten by that man 
Valenod. Do you know that scoundrel ? He's the villain of 
the piece. What will your M. de Renal say if he sees himself 
turned out one of these fine days, and Valenod put in his 
place ? " 

" He will be left to brood over his crimes," said Saint- 
Giraud. " Do you know Verrieres, young man ? Well, 
Bonaparte, heaven confound him ! Bonaparte and his 
monarchical tomfoolery rendered possible the reign of the 
Renals and the Chelans, which brought about the reign of 
the Valenods and the Maslons." 

This conversation, with its gloomy politics, astonished 
Julien and distracted him from his delicious reveries. 

He appreciated but little the first sight of Paris as perceived 
in the distance. The castles in the air he had built about his 
future had to struggle with the still present memory of the 
twenty-four hours that he had just passed in Verrieres. He 
vowed that he would never abandon his mistress's children, 
and that he would leave everything in order to protect 
them, if the impertinence of the priests brought about a 
republic and the persecution of the nobles. 

What would have happened on the night of his arrival in 
Verrieres if, at the moment when he had leant his ladder 
against the casement of Madame de Renal's bedroom he had 
found that room occupied by a stranger or by M. de Renal ? 

But how delicious, too, had been those first two hours 
when his sweetheart had been sincerely anxious to send him 
away and he had pleaded his cause, sitting down by her in 
the darkness ! A soul like Julien's is haunted by such 
memories for a lifetime. The rest of the interview was 
already becoming merged in the first period of their love, 
fourteen months previous. 

Julien was awakened from his deep meditation by the 
stopping of the coach. They had just entered the courtyard 
of the Post in the Rue Rousseau. " I want to go to La 
Malmaison," he said to a cabriolet which approached. 

" At this time, Monsieur what for ? " 

" What's that got to do with you ? Get on." 

Every real passion only thinks about itself. That is why, in 
my view, passions are ridiculous at Paris, where one's neigh- 


bour always insists on one's considering him a great deal. I 
shall refrain from recounting Julien's ecstasy at La Malmaison. 
He wept. What ! in spite of those wretched white walls, 
built this very year, which cut the path up into bits ? Yes, 
monsieur, for Julien, as for posterity, there was nothing to 
choose between Arcole, Saint Helena, and La Malmaison. 

In the evening, Julien hesitated a great deal before going to 
the theatre. He had strange ideas about that place of perdition. 

A deep distrust prevented him from admiring actual Paris. He 
was only affected by the monuments left behind by his hero. 

" So here I am in the centre of intrigue and hypocrisy. 
Here reign the protectors of the abbe de Frilair." On the 
evening of the third day his curiosity got the better of his plan 
of seeing everything before presenting himself to the abbe 
Pirard. The abbe explained to him coldly the kind of life 
which he was to expect at M. de la Mole's. 

" If you do not prove useful to him at the end of some 
months you will go back to the seminary, but not in disgrace. 
You will live in the house of the marquis, who is one of the 
greatest seigneurs of France. You will wear black, but like a 
man who is in mourning, and not like an ecclesiastic. I insist 
on your following your theological studies three days a week 
in a seminary where I will introduce you. Every day at twelve 
o'clock you will establish yourself in the marquis's library ; he 
counts on making use of you in drafting letters concerning 
his lawsuits and other matters. The marquis will scribble on 
the margin of each letter he gets the kind of answer which is 
required. I have assured him that at the end of three months 
you will be so competent to draft the answers, that out of 
every dozen you hand to the marquis for signature, he will be 
able to sign eight or nine. In the evening, at eight o'clock, 
you will tidy up his bureau, and at ten you will be free. 

" It may be," continued the abbe Pirard, " that some old lady 
or some smooth-voiced man will hint at immense advantages, 
or will crudely offer you gold, to show him the letters which 
the marquis has received." 

" Ah, monsieur," exclaimed Julien, blushing. 

" It is singular," said the abbe with a bitter smile, " that 
poor as you are, and after a year at a seminary, you still have 
any of this virtuous indignation left. You must have been 
very blind." 


"Can it be that blood will tell," muttered the abbe in a 
whisper, as though speaking to himself. " The singular thing 
is," he added, looking at Julien, " that the marquis knows you 
I don't know how. He will give you a salary of a hundred 
louis to commence with. He is a man who only acts by his 
whim. That is his weakness. He will quarrel with you about 
the most childish matters. If he is satisfied, your wages may 
rise in consequence up to eight thousand francs. 

" But you realise," went on the abbe, sourly, " that he is 
not giving you all this money simply on account of your 
personal charm. The thing is to prove yourself useful. If I 
were in your place I would talk very little, and I would never 
talk about what I know nothing about. 

" Oh, yes," said the abbe, " I have made some enquiries for 
you. I was forgetting M. de la Mole's family. He has two 
children a daughter and a son of nineteen, eminently elegant 
the kind of madman who never knows to-day what he will 
do to-morrow. He has spirit and valour ; he has been through 
the Spanish war. The marquis hopes, I don't know why, that 
you will become a friend of the young count Norbert. I 
told him that you were a great classic, and possibly he reckons 
on your teaching his son some ready-made phrases about 
Cicero and Virgil. 

" If I were you, I should never allow that handsome young 
man to make fun of me, and before I accepted his advances, 
which you will find perfectly polite but a little ironical, I would 
make him repeat them more than once. 

" I will not hide from you the fact that the young count 
de La Mole is bound to despise you at first, because you are 
nothing more than a little bourgeois. His grandfather belonged 
to the court, and had the honour of having his head cut off in 
the Place de Greve on the 26th April, 1574, on account of a 
political intrigue. 

" As for you, you are the son of a carpenter of Verrieres, 
and what is more, in receipt of his father's wages. Ponder 
well over these differences, and look up the family history in 
Moreri. All the flatterers who dine at their house make from 
time to time what they call delicate allusions to it. 

" Be careful of how you answer the pleasantries of M. the 
count de La Mole, chief of a squadron of hussars, and a future 
peer of France, and don't come and complain to me later on." 



" It seems to me," said Julien, blushing violently, " that I 
ought not even to answer a man who despises me." 

" You have no idea of his contempt. It will only manifest 
itself by inflated compliments. If you were a fool, you might 
be taken in by it. If you want to make your fortune, you 
ought to let yourself be taken in by it." 

" Shall I be looked upon as ungrateful," said Julien, " if I 
return to my little cell Number 108 when I find that all this 
no longer suits me ? " 

" All the toadies of the house will no doubt calumniate you," 
said the abbe, " but I myself will come to the rescue. Adsum 
qui feci. I will say that I am responsible for that resolution." 

Julien was overwhelmed by the bitter and almost vindictive 
tone which he noticed in M. Pirard ; that tone completely 
infected his last answer. 

The fact is that the abbe had a conscientious scruple about 
loving Julien, and it was with a kind of religious fear that he 
took so direct a part in another's life. 

" You will also see," he added with the same bad grace, as 
though accomplishing a painful duty, "you also will see Madame 
the marquise de La Mole. She is a big blonde woman about 
forty, devout, perfectly polite, and even more insignificant. She 
is the daughter of the old Duke de Chaulnes so well known 
for his aristocratic prejudices. This great lady is a kind of 
synopsis in high relief of all the fundamental characteristics 
of women of her rank. She does not conceal for her own 
part that the possession of ancestors who went through the 
crusades is the sole advantage which she respects. Money 
only comes a long way afterwards. Does that astonish you ? 
We are no longer in the provinces, my friend. 

" You will see many great lords in her salon talk about our 
princes in a tone of singular flippancy. As for Madame de 
la Mole, she lowers her voice out of respect every time she 
mentions the name of a Prince, and above all the name of a 
Princess. I would not advise you to say in her hearing that 
Philip II. or Henry VII. were monsters. They were kings, 
a fact which gives them indisputable rights to the respect of 
creatures without birth like you and me. Nevertheless," 
added M. Pirard, " we are priests, for she will take you for one ; 
that being our capacity, she considers us as spiritual valets 
necessary for her salvation." 


" Monsieur," said Julien, " I do not think I shall be long 
at Paris." 

" Good, but remember that no man of our class can make 
his fortune except through the great lords. With that indefin- 
able element in your character, at any rate I think it is, you will 
be persecuted if you do not make your fortune. There is no 
middle course for you, make no mistake about it ; people see 
that they do not give you pleasure when they speak to you ; 
in a social country like this you are condemned to unhappi- 
ness if you do not succeed in winning respect." 

What would have become of you at Besancon without this 
whim of the marquis de la Mole ? One day you will realise 
the extraordinary extent of what he has done for you, and 
if you are not a monster you will be eternally grateful to him 
and his family. How many poor abbes more learned than 
you have lived years at Paris on the fifteen sous they 
got for their mass and their ten sous they got for their 
dissertations in the Sorbonne. Remember what I told 
you last winter about the first years of that bad man Cardinal 
Dubois. Are you proud enough by chance to think yourself 
more talented than he was ? " 

"Take, for instance, a quiet and average man like myself; I 
reckoned on dying in my seminary. I was childish enough 
to get attached to it. Well I was on the point of being turned 
out, when I handed in my resignation. You know what my 
fortune consisted of. I had five hundred and twenty francs 
capital neither more nor less, not a friend, scarcely two or 
three acquaintances. M. de la Mole, whom I had never 
seen, extricated me from that quandary. He only had to say 
the word and I was given a living where the parishioners are 
well-to-do people above all crude vices, and where the income 
puts me to shame, it is so disproportionate to my work. I 
refrained from talking to you all this time simply to enable 
you to find your level a bit. 

" One word more, I have the misfortune to be irritable. It 
is possible that you and I will cease to be on speaking terms. 

" If the airs of the marquise or the spiteful pleasantries of 
her son make the house absolutely intolerable for you I advise 
you to finish your studies in some seminary thirty leagues 
from Paris and rather north than south. There is more 
civilisation in the north, and, he added lowering his voice, I 


must admit that the nearness of the Paris papers puts fear 
into our petty tyrants. 

" If we continue to find pleasure in each other's society and 
if the marquis's house does not suit you, I will offer you the 
post of my curate, and will go equal shares with you in what 
I get from the living. I owe you that and even more, he 
added interrupting Julien's thanks, for the extraordinary offer 
which you made me at Besancon. If instead of having five 
hundred and twenty francs I had had nothing you would have 
saved me." 

The abbe's voice had lost its tone of cruelty, Julien was 
ashamed to feel tears in his eyes. He was desperately anxious 
to throw himself into his friend's arms. He could not help 
saying to him in the most manly manner he could assume : 

" I was hated by my father from the cradle ; it was one of 
my great misfortunes, but I shall no longer complain of my 
luck, I have found another father in you, monsieur." 

" That is good, that is good," said the embarrassed abbe, 
then suddenly remembering quite appropriately a seminary 
platitude " you must never say luck, my child, always say 

The fiacre stopped. The coachman lifted up the bronze 
knocker of an immense door. It was the Hotel de la Mole, 
and to prevent the passers by having any doubt on the subject 
these words could be read in black marble over the door. 

This affectation displeased Julien. " They are so frightened 
of the Jacobins. They see a Robespierre and his tumbril 
behind every head. Their panic is often gloriously grotesque 
and they advertise their house like this so that in the event 
of a rising the rabble can recognise it and loot it." He 
communicated his thought to the abbe Pirard. 

" Yes, poor child, you will soon be my curate. What a 
dreadful idea you have got into your head." 

" Nothing could be simpler," said Julien. 

The gravity of the porter, and above all, the cleanness of the 
the court, struck him with admiration. It was fine sunshine. 
" What magnificent architecture," he said to his friend. The 
hotel in question was one of those buildings of the Faubourg 
Saint-Germain with a flat facade built about the time of 
Voltaire's death. At no other period had fashion and beauty 
been so far from one another. 



Ludicrous and pathetic memory : the first drawing-room where 
one appeared alone and without support at the age of eighteen ! 
the look of a woman sufficed to intimidate me. The more I wished 
to please the more clumsy I became. I evolved the most unfounded 
ideas about everything. I would either abandon myself without 
any reason, or I would regard a man as an enemy simply because 
he had looked at me with a serious air ; but all the same, in the 
middle of the unhappiness of my timidity, how beautiful did I find 
a beautiful day Kant. 

Julien stopped in amazement in the middle of the courtyard. 
" Pull yourself together," said the abbe Pirard. " You get 
horrible ideas into your head, besides you are only a child. ' 
What has happened to the nil mirari of Horace (no enthusiasm) 
remember that when they see you established here this crowd 
of lackeys will make fun of you. They will see in you an equal 
who has been unjustly placed above them ; and, under a 
masquerade of good advice and a desire to help you, they 
will try to make you fall into some gross blunder." 

" Let them do their worst," said Julien biting his lip, and 
he became as distrustful as ever. 

The salons on the first storey which our gentlemen went 
through before reaching the marquis' study, would have seemed 
to you, my reader, as gloomy as they were magnificent. If 
they had been given to you just as they were, you would have 
refused to live in them. This was the domain of yawning and 
melancholy reasoning. They redoubled Julien's rapture. 
" How can any one be unhappy ? " he thought, " who lives in so 
splendid an abode." 

Finally our gentlemen arrived at the ugliest rooms in this 
superb suite. There was scarcely any light. They found 
there a little keen man with a lively eye and a blonde wig. 


The abbe turned round to Julien and presented him. It was 
the marquis. Julien had much difficulty in recognising him, 
he found his manner was so polite. It was no longer the grand 
seigneur with that haughty manner of the abbey of Bray-le-Haut. 
Julien thought that his wig had much too many hairs. As the 
result of this opinion he was not at all intimidated. The 
descendant of the friend of Henry III. seemed to him at first 
of a rather insignificant appearance. He was extremely thin 
and very restless, but he soon noticed that the marquis had a 
politeness which was even more pleasant to his listener than 
that of the Bishop of Besancon himself. The audience only 
lasted three minutes. As they went out the abbe said to 

" You looked at the marquis just as you would have looked 
at a picture. I am not a great expert in what these people 
here call politeness. You will soon know more about it than 
I do, but really the boldness of your looks seemed scarcely 

They had got back into the fiacre. The driver stopped 
near the boulevard ; the abbe ushered Julien into a suite of 
large rooms. Julien noticed that there was no furniture. He 
was looking at the magnificent gilded clock representing a 
subject which he thought very indecent, when a very elegant 
gentleman approached him with a smiling air. Julien bowed 

The gentleman smiled and' put his hand on his shoulder. 
Julien shuddered and leapt back, he reddened with rage. 
The abbe Pirard, in spite of his gravity, laughed till the tears 
came into his eyes. The gentleman was a tailor. 

" I give you your liberty for two days," said the abbe as 
they went out. You cannot be introduced before then to 
Madame de la Mole. Any one else would watch over you as 
if you were a young girl during these first few moments of 
your life in this new Babylon. Get ruined at once if you 
have got to be ruined, and I will be rid of my own weakness 
of being fond of you. The day after to-morrow this tailor 
will bring you two suits, you will give the man who tries them 
on five francs. Apart from that don't let these Parisians hear 
the sound of your voice. If you say a word they will manage 
somehow to make fun of you. They have a talent for it. 
Come and see me the dayafter to-morrow at noon. ... Go 


and ruin yourself. ... I was forgetting, go and order boots 
and a hat at these addresses." 

Julien scrutinised the handwriting of the addresses. 

"It's the marquis's hand," said the abbe; "he is an 
energetic man who foresees everything, and prefers doing to 
ordering. He is taking you into his house, so that you may 
spare him that kind of trouble. Will you have enough brains 
to execute efficiently all the instructions which he will give you 
with scarcely a word of explanation ? The future will show, 
look after yourself." 

Julien entered the shops indicated by the addresses without 
saying a single word. He observed that he was received with 
respect, and that the bootmaker as he wrote his name down 
in the ledger put M. de Sorel. 

When he was in the Cemetery of Pere La Chaise a very 
obliging gentleman, and what is more, one who was Liberal in 
his views, suggested that he should show Julien the tomb of 
Marshal Ney which a sagacious statecraft had deprived of the 
honour of an epitaph, but when he left this Liberal, who with 
tears in his eyes almost clasped him in his arms, Julien was 
without his watch. Enriched by this experience two days 
afterwards he presented himself to the abbe Pirard, who looked 
at him for a long time. 

" Perhaps you are going to become a fop," said the abbe to 
him severely. Julien looked like a very young man in full 
mourning ; as a matter of fact, he looked very well, but the 
good abbe was too provincial himself to see that Julien still 
carried his shoulders in that particular way which signifies in 
the provinces both elegance and importance. When the 
marquis saw Julien his opinion of his graces differed so 
radically from that of the good abbe as he said, 

" Would you have any objection to M. le Sorel taking 
some dancing lessons ? " 

The abbe was thunderstruck. 

" No," he answered at last. " Julien is not a priest." 

The marquis went up the steps of a little secret staircase 
two at a time, and installed our hero in a pretty attic which 
looked out on the big garden of the hotel. He asked him 
how many shirts he had got at the linen drapers. 

"Two," answered Julien, intimidated at seeing so great a 
lord condescend to such details. 


" Very good," replied the marquis quite seriously, and with 
a certain curt imperiousness which gave Julien food for thought. 
" Very good, get twenty-two more shirts. Here are your first 
quarter's wages." 

As he went down from the attic the marquis called an old 
man. " Arsene," he said to him, " you will serve M. Sorel." 
A few minutes afterwards Julien found himself alone in a 
magnificent library. It was a delicious moment. To prevent 
his emotion being discovered he went and hid in a little dark 
corner. From there he contemplated with rapture the 
brilliant backs of the books. " I shall be able to read all 
these," he said to himself. " How can I fail to like it here ? 
M. de Renal would have thought himself dishonoured for ever 
by doing one-hundredth part of what the Marquis de la Mole 
has just done for me. 

" But let me have a look at the copies I have to make. 
Having finished this work Julien ventured to approach the 
books. He almost went mad with joy as he opened an 
edition of Voltaire. He ran and opened the door of the 
library to avoid being surprised. He then indulged in the 
luxury of opening each of the eighty volumes. They were 
magnificently bound and were the masterpiece of the best 
binder in London. It was even more than was required to 
raise Julien's admiration to the maximum. 

An hour afterwards the marquis came in and was surprised 
to notice that Julien spelt cela with two "11" cella. "Is all 
that the abbe told me of his knowledge simply a fairy tale ? " 
The marquis was greatly discouraged and gently said to him, 

" You are not sure of your spelling ? " 

" That is true," said Julien without thinking in the least of 
the injustice that he was doing to himself. He was overcome 
by the kindness of the marquis which recalled to him through 
sheer force of contrast the superciliousness of M. de Renal. 

"This trial of the little Franc-comtois abbe is waste of 
time," thought the marquis, " but I had such great need of a 
reliable man." 

"You spell cela with one '1,'" said the marquis to him, 
" and when you have finished your copies look the words 
whose spelling you are not sure of up in the dictionary." 

The marquis sent for him at six o'clock. He looked at 
Julien's boots with manifest pain. " I am sorry for a mistake 


1 made. I did not tell you that you must dress every day at 
half-past five." 

Julien looked at him but did not understand. 

11 1 mean to say put on stockings. Arsene will remind you. 
To-day I will make your apologies." 

As he finished the sentence M. de la Mole escorted Julien 
into a salon resplendent with gilding. On similar occasions 
M. de Renal always made a point of doubling his pace so as 
to have the privilege of being the first to pass the threshold. 
His former employer's petty vanity caused Julien to tread on 
the marquis's feet and hurt him a great deal because of his 
gout. " So he is clumsy to the bargain," he said to himself. 
He presented him to a woman of high stature and of imposing 
appearance. It was the marquise. Julien thought that her 
manner was impertinent, and that she was a little like Madame 
de Maugiron, the wife of the sub-prefect of the arrondissement 
of Verrieres when she was present at the Saint-Charles dinner. 
Rendered somewhat nervous by the extreme magnificence of 
the salon Julien did not hear what M. de la Mole was saying. 
The marquise scarcely deigned to look at him. There were 
several men there, among whom Julien recognised with an 
inexpressible pleasure the young bishop of Agde who had 
deigned to speak to him some months before at the ceremony 
of Bray-le-Haut. This young prelate was doubtless frightened 
by the tender look which the timidity of Julien fixed on him, 
and did not bother to recognise " the provincial." 

The men assembled in this salon seemed to Julien to have 
a certain element of gloom and constraint. Conversation 
takes place in a low voice in Paris and little details are not 

A handsome young man with moustaches, came in about 
half-past six. He was very pale, and had a very small head. 

"You always keep us waiting" said the marquise, as he 
kissed her hand. 

Julien realised that it was the Count de la Mole. From 
the very first he thought he was charming. 

" Is it possible," he said to himself " that this is the man 
whose offensive jests are going to drive me out of the house." 

As the result of scrutinising count Norbert, Julien noticed 
that he was in boots and spurs. " And I have got to be in 
shoes iust like an inferior apparently." They sat down at 


table, Julien heard the marquise raising her voice a little and 
saying something severe. Almost simultaneously he noticed 
an extremely blonde and very well developed young person 
who had just sat down opposite him. Nevertheless she made 
no appeal to him. Looking at her attentively he thought 
that he had never seen such beautiful eyes, although they 
betokened a great coldness of soul. Subsequently Julien 
thought that, though they looked bored and sceptical, they 
were conscious of the duty of being impressive. " Madame 
de Renal of course had very fine eyes " he said to himself, " she 
used to be universally complimented on them, but they had 
nothing in common with these." Julien did not know enough 
of society to appreciate that it was the fire of repartee which 
from time to time gave their brilliancy to the eyes of 
Mademoiselle Mathilde (for that was the name he heard her 
called by). When Madame-de Renal's eyes became animated, 
it was with the fire of passion, or as the result of a generous 
indignation on hearing of some evil deed. Towards the end 
of the meal Julien found a word to express Mademoiselle de 
la Mole's type of beauty. Her eyes are scintillating, he said to 
himself. Apart from her eyes she was cruelly like her mother, 
whom he liked less and less, and he ceased looking at her. 
By way of compensation he thought Count Norbert admirable 
in every respect. Julien was so fascinated that the idea never 
occurred to him of being jealous, and hating him because he 
was richer and of nobler birth than he was himself. 

Julien thought that the marquis looked bored. 

About the second course he said to his son : " Norbert, I 
ask all your good offices for M. Julien Sorel, whom I have 
just taken into my staff and of whom I hope to make a man 
si cella se pent." 

" He is my secretary," said the marquis to his neighbour, 
" and he spells cela with two ll's." Everybody looked at Julien, 
who bowed to Norbert in a manner that was slightly too 
marked, but speaking generally they were satisfied with his 

The marquis must have spoken about the kind of education 
which Julien had received for one of the guests tackled him on 
Horace. "It was just by talking about Horace that I 
succeeded with the bishop of Besancon," said Julien to 
himself. Apparently that is the only author they know. 


From that instant he was master of himself, This transition 
was rendered easy because he had just decided that he would 
never look upon Madamoiselle de la Mole as a woman after 
his own taste. Since the seminary he had the lowest opinion 
of men, and was not to be easily intimidated by them. He 
would have enjoyed all his self-possession if the dining-room 
had been furnished with less magnificence. It was, as a matter 
of fact, two mirrors each eight feet high in which he would 
look from time to time at the man who was speaking to him 
about Horace, which continued to impress him. His phrases 
were not too long for a provincial, he had fine eyes whose 
brilliancy was doubled by his quavering timidity, or by his 
happy bashfulness when he had given a good answer. They 
found him pleasant. This kind of examination gave a little 
interest to a solemn dinner. The marquis signed to Julien's 
questioner to press him sharply. " Can he possibly know 
something ? " he thought. 

Julien answered and thought out new ideas. He lost 
sufficient of his nervousness, not indeed to exhibit any wit, for 
that is impossible for any one ignorant of the special language 
which is used in Paris, but to show himself possessed of ideas 
which, though presented out of place and ungracefully, were 
yet original. They saw that he knew Latin perfectly. 

Julien's adversary was a member of the Academy Inscriptions 
who chanced to know Latin. He found Julien a very good 
humanist, was not frightened of making him feel uncomfortable, 
and really tried to embarrass him. In the heat of the con- 
troversy Julien eventually forgot the magnificent furniture of 
the dining-room. He managed to expound theories con- 
cerning the Latin poets which his questioner had never read 
of anywhere. Like an honest man, he gave the young 
secretary all due credit for them. As luck would have it, 
they started a discussion on the question of whether Horace 
was poor or rich, a good humoured and careless voluptuary 
who made verses to amuse himself, like Chapelle the friend of 
Moliere and de la Fontaine, or a poor devil of a poet laureate 
who wrote odes for the king's birthday like Southey, the 
accuser of Lord Byron. They talked about the state of society 
under Augustus and under George IV. At both periods the 
aristocracy was all-powerful, but, while at Rome it was despoiled 
of its power by Maecenas who was only a simple knight, it had 


in England reduced George IV practically to the position of 
a Venetian doge. This discussion seemed to lift the marquis 
out of that state of bored torpor in which he had been plunged 
at the beginning of the dinner. 

Julien found meaningless such modern names as Southey, 
Lord Byron, and George IV, which he now heard pronounced 
for the first time. But every one noticed that whenever the 
conversation dealt with events that had taken place in Rome 
and about which knowledge could be obtained by a perusal 
of the works of Horace, Martial or Tacitus, etc., he showed an 
indisputable superiority. Julien coolly appropriated several 
ideas which he had learnt from the bishop of Besan^on in the 
historic conversation which he had had with that prelate. 
These ideas were not the least appreciated. 

When every one was tired of talking about poets the 
marquise, who always made it a rule to admire whatever 
amused her husband, deigned to look at Julien. " Perhaps 
an educated man lies hid beneath the clumsy manners of this 
young abbe," said the Academician who happened to be near 
the marquise. Julien caught a few words of what he said. 
Ready-made phrases suited the intellect of the mistress of the 
house quite well. She adopted this one about Julien, and 
was very pleased with herself for having invited the academician 
to dinner. " He has amused M. de la Mole " she thought. 



This immense valley, filled with brilliant lights and so 
many thousands of men dazzles my sight. No one 
knows me. All are superior to me. I lose my head. 
Poemi deW av. RE IN A. 

Julien was copying letters in the library very early the next 
day when Mademoiselle Mathilde came in by a little dummy 
door very well masked by the backs of the books. While 
Julien was admiring the device, Mademoiselle Mathilde seemed 
astonished and somewhat annoyed at finding him there : 
Julien saw that she was in curl- papers and had a hard, haughty, 
and masculine expression. Mademoiselle de la Mole had the 
habit of surreptitiously stealing books from her father's library. 
Julien's presence rendered this morning's journey abortive, a 
fact which annoyed her all the more as she had come to fetch 
the second volume of Voltaire's Princess of Babylon^ a worthy 
climax to one of the most eminently monarchical and religious 
educations which the convent of the Sacred Heart had ever 
provided. This poor girl of nineteen already required some 
element of spiciness in order to get up an interest in a novel. 

Count Norbert put in an appearance in the library about 
three o'clock. He had come to study a paper so as to be 
able to talk politics in the evening, and was very glad to meet 
Julien, whose existence he had forgotten. He was charming, 
and offered him a ride on horseback. 

" My father will excuse us until dinner." 

Julien appreciated the us and thought it charming. 

" Great heavens ! M. le Comte," said Julien, " if it were a 
question of felling an eighty-foot tree or hewing it out and 
making it into planks I would acquit myself all right, I 


daresay, but as for riding a horse, I haven't done such a thing 
six times in my life." 

" Well, this will be the seventh," said Norbert. 

As a matter of fact, Julien remembered the king of 's 

entry into Verrieres, and thought he rode extremely well. 
But as they were returning from the Bois de Boulogne he fell 
right in the middle of the Rue du Bac, as he suddenly tried to 
get out of the way of a cabriolet, and was spattered all over with 
mud. It was lucky that he had two suits. The marquis, wishing 
to favour him with a few words at dinner, asked him for news 
of his excursion. Norbert began immediately to answer him in 
general terms. 

" M. le Comte is extremely kind to me," answered Julien. 
" I thank him for it, and I fully appreciate it. He was good 
enough to have the quietest and prettiest horse given to me, 
but after all he could not tie me on to it, and owing to the 
lack of that precaution, I had a fall right in the middle of that 
long street near the bridge. Madame Mathilde made a futile 
effort to hide a burst of laughter, and subsequently was 
indiscreet enough to ask for details. Julien acquitted himself 
with much simplicity. He had grace without knowing it. 

u I prophesy favourably about that little priest," said the 
marquis to the academician. "Think of a provincial being 
simple over a matter like that. Such a thing has never been 
witnessed before, and will never be witnessed again; and 
what is more, he describes his misfortune before ladies." 

Julien put his listeners so thoroughly at their ease over his 
misfortune that at the end of the dinner, when the general 
conversation had gone off on to another subject, Mademoiselle 
Mathilde asked her brother some questions over the details of 
the unfortunate occurrence. As she put numerous questions, 
and as Julien met her eyes several times, he ventured to 
answer himself, although the questions had not been addressed 
to him, and all three of them finished up by laughing just as 
though they had all been inhabitants of some village in the 
depths of a forest. 

On the following day Julien attended two theology lectures, 
and then came back to copy out about twenty letters. He 
found a young man, who though very carefully dressed, had a 
mean appearance and an envious expression, established near 
him in the library. 


The marquis entered, "What are you doing here, M. 
Tanbeau ? " he said severely to the new-comer. 

" I thought " answered the young man, with a base smile. 

" No, monsieur, you thought nothing of the kind. This is 
a try-on, but it is an unfortunate one." 

Young Tanbeau got up in a rage and disappeared. He 
was a nephew of the academician who was a friend of Madame 
de la Mole, and intended to take up the profession of letters. 
The academician had induced the marquis to take him as a 
secretary. Tanbeau used to work in a separate room, but 
having heard of the favour that was vouchsafed to Julien he 
wished to share it, and he had gone this morning and 
established his desk in the library. 

At four o'clock Julien ventured, after a little hesitation, to 
present himself to Count Norbert. The latter was on the 
point of going riding, and being a man of perfect politeness 
felt embarrassed. 

" I think," he said to Julien, " that you had better go to the 
riding school, and after a few weeks, I shall be charmed to 
ride with you." 

" I should like to have the honour of thanking you for the 
kindness which you have shewn me. Believe me, monsieur," 
added Julien very seriously, " that I appreciate all I owe you. 
If your horse has not been hurt by the reason of my clumsiness 
of yesterday, and if it is free I should like to ride it this 

" Well, upon my word, my dear Sorel, you do so at your 
own risk and peril ; kindly assume that I have put forth all 
the objections required by prudence. As a matter of fact it is 
four o'clock, we have no time to lose." 

As soon as Julien was on horseback, he said to the young 
count, "What must one do not to fall off?" 

" Lots of things," answered Norbert, bursting into laughter. 
" Keep your body back for instance." 

Julien put his horse to the trot. They were at the Place 
Louis XVI. 

" Oh, you foolhardy youngster," said Norbert " there are too 
many carriages here, and they are driven by careless drivers 
into the bargain. Once you are on the ground their tilburies 
will run over your body, they will not risk spoiling their horses' 
mouths by pulling up short." 


Norbert saw Julien twenty times on the point of tumbling, 
but in the end the excursion finished without misadventure. 
As they came back the young count said to his sister, 

" Allow me to introduce a dashing dare-devil." 

When he talked to his father over the dinner from one end 
of the table to the other, he did justice to Julien's courage. 
It was the only thing one could possibly praise about his style of 
riding. The young count had heard in the morning the men 
who groomed the horses in the courtyard making Julien's fall 
an opportunity for the most outrageous jokes at his expense. 

In spite of so much kindness Julien soon felt himself 
completely isolated in this family. All their customs seemed 
strange to him, and he was cognizant of none of them. His 
blunders were the delight of the valets. 

The abbe Pirard had left for his living. " If Julien is a 
weak reed, let him perish. If he is a man of spirit, let him 
get out of his difficulties all alone," he thought. 



What is he doing here? Will he like it there? Will he try 
to please? Ronsard. 

If everything in the aristocratic salon of the Hotel de la 
Mole seemed strange to Julien, that pale young man in his 
black suit seemed in his turn very strange to those persons 
who deigned to notice him. Madame de la Mole suggested to 
her husband that he should send him off on some business on 
those days when they had certain persons to dinner. 

" I wish to carry the experiment to its logical conclusion," 
answered the marquis. " The abbe Pirard contends that we 
are wrong in crushing the self-respect of the people whom we 
allow around us. One can only lean on what resists. The 
only thing against this man is his unknown face, apart from 
that he is a deaf mute." 

" If I am to know my way about," said Julien to himself. 
" I must write down the names of the persons whom I see come 
to the salon together with a few words on their character." 

He put at the head of the list five or six friends of the 
house who took every opportunity of paying court to him, 
believing that he was protected by a whim of the marquis. 
They were poor dull devils. But it must be said in praise of 
this class of men, such as they are found to-day in the salons 
of the aristocracy, that every one did not find them equally 
tame. One of them was now allowing himself to be bullied by 
the marquis, who was venting his irritation at a harsh remark 
which had been addressed to him by the marquise. 

The masters of the house were too proud or too prone to 
boredom ; they were too much used to finding their only 
distraction in the addressing of insults, to enable them to 
expect true friends. But, except on rainy days and in rare 



moments of savage boredom, they always showed themselves 
perfectly polite. 

If the five or six toadies who manifested so paternal an 
affection towards Julien had deserted the Hotel de la Mole, 
the marquise would have been exposed to long spells of solitude, 
and in the eyes of women of that class, solitude is awful, it is 
the symbol of disgrace. 

The marquis was charming to his wife. He saw that her 
salon was sufficiently furnished, though not with peers, for he 
did not think his new colleagues were sufficiently noble to 
come to his house as friends, or sufficiently amusing to be 
admitted as inferiors. 

It was only later that Julien fathomed these secrets. The 
governing policy of a household, though it forms the staple 
of conversation in bourgeois families, is only alluded to in 
families of the class of that of the marquis in moments of 
distress. So paramount even in this bored century is the 
necessity of amusing ones self, that even on the days of dinner- 
parties the marquis had scarcely left the salon before all the 
guests ran away. Provided that one did not make any jests 
about either God or the priests or the king or the persons in 
office, or the artists who enjoyed the favour of the court, or 
of anything that was established, provided that one did not 
praise either Beranger or the opposition papers, or Voltaire or 
Rousseau or anything which involved any element of free 
speech, provided that above all that one never talked politics, 
one could discuss everything with freedom. 

There is no income of a hundred thousand crowns a year 
and no blue ribbon which could sustain a contest against such 
a code of salon etiquette. 

The slightest live idea appeared a crudity. In spite of the 
prevailing good form, perfect politeness, and desire to please, 
ennui was visible in every face. The young people who came 
to pay their calls were frightened of speaking of anything which 
might make them suspected of thinking or of betraying that 
they had read something prohibited, and relapsed into silence 
after a few elegant phrases about Rossini and the weather. 

Julien noticed that the conversation was usually kept alive 
by two viscounts and five barons whom M. de la Mole had 
known at the time of the emigration. These gentlemen 
enjoyed an income of from six to eight hundred thousand 


francs. Four swore by the Quotidienne and three by the Gazette 
de France. One of them had every day some anecdote to tell 
about the Chateau, in which he made lavish use of the word 
admirable. Julien noticed that he had five crosses, the others 
as a rule only had three. 

By way of compensation six footmen in livery were to be 
seen in the ante-room, and during the whole evening ices or 
tea were served every quarter-of-an-hour, while about midnight 
there was a kind of supper with champagne. 

This was the reason that sometimes induced Julien to stay 
till the end. Apart from this he could scarcely understand 
why any one could bring himself to take seriously the ordinary 
conversation in this magnificently gilded salon. Sometimes he 
would look at the talkers to see if they themselves were not 
making fun of what they were saying. " My M. de Maistre, 
whom I know by heart," he thought, "has put it a hundred 
times better, and all the same he is pretty boring," 

Julien was not the only one to appreciate this stifling moral 
atmosphere. Some consoled themselves by taking a great 
quantity of ices, others by the pleasure of saying all the rest 
of the evening, " I have just come from the Hotel de la Mole 
where I learnt that Russia, etc." 

Julien learnt from one of the toadies that scarcely six months 
ago madame de la Mole had rewarded more than twenty 
years of assiduous attention by promoting the poor baron Le 
Bourguignon, who had been a sub-prefect since the restoration, 
to the rank of prefect. 

This great event had whetted the zeal of all these gentlemen. 
Previously there were few things to which they would have 
objected, now they objected to nothing. There was rarely 
any overt lack of consideration, but Julien had already caught 
at meals two or three little short dialogues between the 
marquis and his wife which were cruel to those who were 
seated near them. These noble personages did not conceal 
their sincere contempt for everyone who was not sprung from 
people who were entitled to ride in the carriages of the king. 
Julien noticed that the word crusade was the only word which 
gave their face an expression of deep seriousness akin to respect. 
Their ordinary respect had always a touch of condescension. 
In the middle of this magnificence and this boredom Julien was 
interested in nothing except M. de la Mole. He was delighted 


to hear him protest one day that he had had nothing to do 
with the promotion of that poor Le Bourguignon, it was an 
attention to the marquise. Julien knew the truth from the 
abbe Pirard. 

The abbe was working in the marquis's library with Julien 
one morning at the eternal de Frilair lawsuit. 

" Monsieur," said Julien suddenly, " is dining every day 
with madame la marquise one of my duties or a special 
favour that they show to me ?" 

" It's a special honour," replied the scandalised abbe. " M. 
the Academician, who has been cultivating the family for fifteen 
years, has never been able to obtain so much for his M. 

" I find it, sir, the most painful part of my employment. 
I was less bored at the seminary. Some times I see even 
mademoiselle de la Mole yawn, and yet she ought to be 
accustomed to the social charms of the friends of the house. 
I am frightened of falling asleep. As a favour, obtain 
permission for me to go and get a forty sous' dinner in some 
obscure inn." 

The abbe who was a true snob, was very appreciative of the 
honour of dining with a great lord. While he was endeavour- 
ing to get Julien to understand this point of view a slight noise 
made them turn round. Julien saw mademoiselle de la Mole 
listening. He reddened. She had come to fetch a book and 
had heard everything. She began to entertain some respect 
for Julien. " He has not been born servile," she thought, 
" like that old abbe. Heavens, how ugly he is." 

At dinner Julien did not venture to look at mademoiselle de 
la Mole but she was kind enough to speak to him. They 
were expecting a lot of visitors that day and she asked him to 
stay. The young girls of Paris are not at all fond of persons 
of a certain age, especially when they are slovenly. Julien did 
not need much penetration to realise that the colleagues of M. 
le Bourguignon who remained in the salon had the privilege 
of being the ordinary butt of mademoiselle de la Mole's jokes. 
On this particular day, whether or not by reason of some 
affectation on her part, she proved cruel to bores. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole was the centre of a little knot 
which used to form nearly every evening behind the marquise's 
immense arm-chair. There were to be found there the 


marquis de Croisenois, the comte de Caylus, the vicomte de 
Luz and two or three other young officers, the friends of 
Norbert or his sister. These gentlemen used to sit down on a 
large blue sofa. At the end of the sofa, opposite the part 
where the brilliant Mathilde was sitting, Julien sat in silence 
on a little, rather low straw chair. This modest position was 
envied by all the toadies ; Norbert kept his father's young 
secretary in countenance by speaking to him, or mentioning 
him by name once or twice in the evening. On this particular 
occasion mademoiselle de la Mole asked him what was the 
height of the mountain on which the citadel of Besancon is 
planted. Julien had never any idea if this mountain was higher 
or lower than Montmartre. He often laughed heartily at what 
was said in this little knot, but he felt himself incapable of 
inventing anything analagous. It was like a strange language 
which he understood but could not speak. 

On this particular day Matilde's friends manifested a con- 
tinuous hostility to the visitors who came into the vast salon. 
The friends of the house were the favoured victims at first, 
inasmuch as they were better known. You can form your 
opinion as to whether Julien paid attention ; everything 
interested him, both the substance of things and the manner 
of making fun of them. 

"And there is M. Descoulis," said Matilde; "he doesn't 
wear a wig any more. Does he want to get a prefectship 
through sheer force of genius? He is displaying that bald 
forehead which he says is filled with lofty thoughts." 

" He is a man who knows the whole world," said the 
marquis de Croisenois. " He also goes to my uncle the 
cardinal's. He is capable of cultivating a falsehood with each 
of his friends for years on end, and he has two or three 
hundred friends. He knows how to nurse friendship, that is 
his talent. He will go out, just as you see him, in the worst 
winter weather, and be at the door of one of his friends by 
seven o'clock in the morning. 

" He quarrels from time to time and he writes seven or eight 
letters for each quarrel. Then he has a reconciliation and he 
writes seven or eight letters to express his bursts of friendship. 
But he shines most brilliantly in the frank and sincere 
expansiveness of the honest man who keeps nothing up his 
sleeve. This manoeuvre is brought into play when he has 


some favour to ask. One of my uncle's grand vicars is very 
good at telling the life of M. Descoulis since the restoration. 
I will bring him to you." 

" Bah ! I don't believe all that, it's professional jealousy 
among the lower classes." said the comte de Caylus. 

" M. Descoulis will live in history," replied the marquis. 
" He brought about the restoration together with the abbe de 
Pradt and messieurs de Talleyrand and Pozzo di Borgo." 

"That man has handled millions," said Norbert, "and I 
can't conceive why he should come here to swallow my 
father's epigrams which are frequently atrocious. ' How many 
times have you betrayed your friends, my dear Descoulis?' 
he shouted at him one day from one end of the table to the 

"But is it true that he has played the traitor?" asked 
mademoiselle de la Mole. " Who has not played the 
traitor ? " 

" Why ! " said the comte de Caylus to Norbert, " do you 
have that celebrated Liberal, M. Sainclair, in your house. 
What the devil's he come here for ? I must go up to him and 
speak to him and make him speak. He is said to be so 

" But how will your mother receive him ? " said M. de 
Croisenois. " He has such extravagant, generous and in- 
dependent ideas." 

"Look," said mademoiselle de la Mole, "look at the in- 
dependent man who bows down to the ground to M. Descoulis 
while he grabs hold of his hand. I almost thought he was 
going to put it to his lips." 

" Descoulis must stand better with the powers that be than 
we thought," answered M. de Croisenois. 

"Sainclair comes here in order to get into the academy," 

said Norbert. " See how he bows to the baron L , 


" It would be less base to kneel down," replied M. de Luz. 

" My dear Sorel," said Norbert, " you are extremely smart, 
but you come from the mountains. Mind you never bow like 
that great poet is doing, even to God the Father." 

"Ah there's a really witty man, M. the Baron Baton," said 
mademoiselle de la Mole, imitating a little the voice of the 
flunkey who had just announced him. 


" I think that even your servants make fun of him. What 
a name Baron Baton," said M. de Caylus. 

" What's in a name ? " he said to us the other day, went on 
Matilde. " Imagine the Duke de Bouillon announced for 
the first time. So far as I am concerned the public only need 
to get used to me." 

" Julien left the vicinity of the sofa." 

Still insufficiently appreciative of the charming subtleties of 
a delicate raillery to laugh at a joke, he considered that a jest 
ought to have some logical foundation. He saw nothing in 
these young peoples' conversation except a vein of universal 
scandal-mongering and was shocked by it. His provincial 
or English prudery went so far as to detect envy in it, though 
in this he was certainly mistaken. 

"Count Norbert," he said to himself, "who has had to 
make three drafts for a twenty-line letter to his colonel would 
be only too glad to have written once in his whole life one 
page as good as M. Sainclair." 

Julien approached successively the several groups and 
attracted no attention by reason of his lack of importance. 
He followed the Baron Baton from a distance and tried to 
hear him. 

This witty man appeared nervous and Julien did not see 
him recover his equanimity before he had hit upon three or 
four stinging phrases. Julien thought that this kind of wit 
had great need of space. 

The Baron could not make epigrams. He needed at least 
four sentences of six lines each, in order to be brilliant. 

"That man argues, he does not talk," said someone behind 
Julien. He turned round and reddened with pleasure when 
he heard the name of the comte Chalvet. He was the subtlest 
man of the century. Julien had often found his name in the 
Memorial of St. Helena and in the portions of history dictated 
by Napoleon. The diction of comte Chalvet was laconic, 
his phrases were flashes of lightning just, vivid, deep. If he 
talked about any matter the conversation immediately made 
a step forward ; he imported facts into it ; it was a pleasure to 
hear him. In politics, however, he was a brazen cynic. 

" I am independent, I am," he was saying to a gentleman 
with three stars, of whom apparently he was making fun. 
"Why insist on my having to-day the same opinion I had 


six weeks ago. In that case my opinion would be my 

Four grave young men who were standing round scowled ; 
these gentlemen did not like flippancy. The comte saw that 
he had gone too far. Luckily he perceived the honest M. 
Balland, a veritable hypocrite of honesty. The count began 
to talk to him ; people closed up, for they realised that poor 
Balland was going to be the next victim. 

M. Balland, although he was horribly ugly and his first 
steps in the world were almost unmentionable, had by dint 
of his morals and his morality married a very rich wife 
who had died ; he subsequently married a second very rich 
one who was never seen in society. He enjoyed, in all 
humility, an income of sixty thousand francs, and had his 
own flatterers. Comte Chalvet talked to him pitilessly about 
all this. There was soon a circle of thirty persons around 
them. Everybody was smiling, including the solemn young 
men who were the hope of the century. 

" Why does he come to M. de la Mole where he is 
obviously only a laughing stock?" thought Julien. He 
approached the abbe Pirard to ask him. 

M. Balland made his escape. 

" Good," said Norbert, " there is one of the spies of my 
father gone ; there is only the little limping Napier left." 

" Can that be the key of the riddle ? " thought Julien, " but 
if so, why does the marquis receive M. Balland ? " 

The stern abbe Pirard was scowling in a corner of the 
salon listening to the lackeys announcing the names. 

" This is nothing more than a den," he was saying like 
another Basil, " I see none but shady people come in." 

As a matter of fact the severe abbe did not know what 
constitutes high society. But his friends the Jansenites, had 
given him some very precise notions about those men who only 
get into society by reason of their extreme subtlety in the service 
of all parties, or of their monstrous wealth. For some 
minutes that evening he answered Julien's eager questions 
fully and freely, and then suddenly stopped short grieved at 
having always to say ill of every one, and thinking he was 
guilty of a sin. Bilious Jansenist as he was, and believing as 
he did in the duty of Christian charity, his life was a perpetual 


" How strange that abbe Pirard looks," said mademoiselle 
de la Mole, as Julien came near the sofa. 

Julien felt irritated, but she was right all the same. M. 
Pirard was unquestionably the most honest man in the salon, 
but his pimply face, which was suffering from the stings of 
conscience, made him look hideous at this particular moment. 
" Trust physiognomy after this," thought Julien, " it is only 
when the delicate conscience of the abbe Pirard is reproaching 
him for some trifling lapse that he looks so awful ; while the 
expression of that notorious spy Napier shows a pure and 
tranquil happiness." The abbe Pirard, however, had made 
great concessions to his party. He had taken a servant, and 
was very well dressed. 

Julien noticed something strange in the salon, it was that 
all eyes were being turned towards the door, and there was 
a semi silence. The flunkey was announcing the famous 
Barron Tolly, who had just become publicly conspicuous by 
reason of the elections. Julien came forward and had a very 
good view of him. The baron had been the president of an 
electoral college; he had the brilliant idea of spiriting away the 
little squares of paper which contained the votes of one of the 
parties. But to make up for it he replaced them by an equal 
number of other little pieces of paper containing a name 
agreeable to himself. This drastic manoeuvre had been 
noticed by some of the voters, who had made an immediate 
point of congratulating the Baron de Tolly. The good fellow 
was still pale from this great business. Malicious persons had 
pronounced the word galleys. M. de la Mole received him 
coldly. The poor Baron made his escape. 

" If he leaves us so quickly it's to go to M. Comte's," ' said 
Comte Chalvet and everyone laughed. 

Little Tanbeau was trying to win his spurs by talking to 
some silent noblemen and some intriguers who, though shady, 
were all men of wit, and were on this particular night in great 
force in M. de la Mole's salon (for he was mentioned for a 
place in the ministry). If he had not yet any subtlety of 
perception he made up for it as one will see by the energy of 
his words. 

" Why not sentence that man to ten years' imprisonment," 

celebrated conjuror. 


he was saying at the moment when Julien approached his 
knot. Those reptiles should be confined in the bottom of a 
dungeon, they ought to languish to death in gaol, otherwise 
their venom will grow and become more dangerous. What is 
the good of sentencing him to a fine of a thousand crowns ? 
He is poor, so be it, all the better, but his party will pay for 
him. What the case required was a five hundred francs fine 
and ten years in a dungeon." 

" Well to be sure, who is the monster they are speaking 
about ? " thought Julien who was viewing with amazement the 
vehement tone and hysterical gestures of his colleague. At 
this moment the thin, drawn, little face of the academician's 
nephew was hideous. Julien soon learnt that they were 
talking of the greatest poet of the century. 

" You monster," Julien exclaimed half aloud, while tears 
of generosity moistened his eyes. " You little rascal," he 
thought, " I will pay you out for this." 

" Yet," he thought, " those are the unborn hopes of the 
party of which the marquis is one of the chiefs. How many 
crosses and how many sinecures would that celebrated man 
whom he is now defaming have accumulated if he had sold 
himself I won't say to the mediocre ministry of M. de 
Nerval but to one of those reasonably honest ministries 
which we have seen follow each other in succession." 

The abbe Pirard motioned to Julien from some distance 
off; M. de la Mole had just said something to him. But 
when Julien, who was listening at the moment with downcast 
eyes to the lamentations of the bishop, had at length got free 
and was able to get near his friend, he found him monopolised 
by the abominable little Tanbeau. The little beast hated 
him as the cause of Julien's favour with the marquis, and 
was now making up to him. 

" When will death deliver us from that aged rottenness" 
it was in these words of a biblical energy that the little man of 
letters was now talking of the venerable Lord Holland. His 
merit consisted in an excellent knowledge of the biography of 
living men, and he had just made a rapid review of all the 
men who could aspire to some influence under the reign of 
the new King of England. 

The abbe Pirard passed in to an adjacent salon. Julien 
followed him. 


" I warn you the marquis does not like scribblers, it is his 
only prejudice. Know Latin and Greek if you can manage 
it, the history of the Egyptians, Persians, etc., he will honour 
and protect you as a learned man. But don't write a page of 
French, especially on serious matters which are above your 
position in society, or he will call you a scribbler and take 
you for a scoundrel. How is it that living as you do in the 
hotel of a great lord you don't know the Duke de Castries' 
epigram on Alembert and Rousseau : ' the fellow wants to 
reason about everything and hasn't got an income of a 
thousand crowns ' ! " 

"Everything leaks out here," thought Julien, "just like 
the seminary." He had written eight or six fairly drastic 
pages. It was a kind of historical eulogy of the old surgeon- 
major who had, he said, made a man of him. " The little note 
book," said Julien to himself, "has always been locked." He 
went up to his room, burnt his manuscript and returned to 
the salon. The brilliant scoundrels had left it, only the men 
with the stars were left. 

Seven or eight very aristocratic ladies, very devout, very 
affected, and of from thirty to thirty-five years of age, were 
grouped round the table that the servants had just brought in 
ready served. The brilliant marechale de Fervaques came in 
apologising for the lateness of the hour. It was more than 
midnight : she went and sat down near the marquise. Julien 
was deeply touched, she had the eyes and the expression of 
madame de Renal. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole's circle was still full of people. 
She was engaged with her friends in making fun of the 
unfortunate comte de Thaler. He was the only son of that 
celebrated Jew who was famous for the riches that he had 
won by lending money to kings to make war on the peoples. 

The Jew had just died leaving his son an income of one 
hundred thousand crowns a month, and a name that was only 
too well known. This strange position required either a 
simple character or force of will power. 

Unfortunately the comte was simply a fellow who was 
inflated by all kinds of pretensions which had been suggested 
to him by all his toadies. 

M. de Caylus asserted that they had induced him to make 
up his mind to ask for the hand of mademoiselle de la Mole, 


to whom the marquis de Croisenois, who would be a duke 
with a hundred thousand francs a year, was paying his 

" Oh, do not accuse him of having a mind," said Norbert 

Will-power was what the poor comte de Thaler lacked most 
of all. So far as this side of his character went he was worthy 
of being a king. He would take council from everybody, but 
he never had the courage to follow any advice to the bitter 

"His physiognomy would be sufficient in itself," mademoiselle 
de la Mole was fond of saying, " to have inspired her with a 
holy joy." It was a singular mixture of anxiety and disappoint- 
ment, but from time to time one could distinguish gusts of 
self-importance, and above all that trenchant tone suited to the 
richest man in France, especially when he had nothing to be 
ashamed of in his personal appearance and was not yet thirty- 
six. " He is timidly insolent," M. de Croisenois would say. 
The comte de Caylus, Norbert, and two or three moustachoed 
young people made fun of him to their heart's content without 
him suspecting it, and finally packed him off as one o'clock 

" Are those your famous Arab horses waiting for you at the 
door in this awful weather ? " said Norbert to him. 

" No, it is a new pair which are much cheaper," said M. de 
Thaler. " The horse on the left cost me five thousand francs, 
while the one on the right is only worth one hundred louis, but 
I would ask you to believe me when I say that I only have 
him out at night. His trot you see is exactly like the other 

Norbert's remark made the comte think it was good form 
for a man like him to make a hobby of his horses, and that he 
must not let them get wet. He went away, and the other 
gentleman left a minute afterwards making fun of him all the 
time. " So," thought Julien as he heard them laugh on the 
staircase, " I have the privilege of seeing the exact opposite of 
my own situation. I have not got twenty louis a year and I 
found myself side by side with a man who has twenty louis an 
hour and they made fun of him. Seeing a sight like that 
cures one of envy." 



An idea which has any life in it seems like a crudity, 
so accustomed are they to colourless expression. Woe 
to him who introduces new ideas into his conversation ! 


This was the stage Julien had reached, when after several 
months of probation the steward of the household handed him 
the third quarter of his wages. M. de la Mole had entrusted 
him with the adminisiration of his estates in Brittany and 
Normandy. Julien made frequent journeys there. He had 
chief control of the correspondence relating to the famous 
law-suit with the abbe" de Frilair. M. Pirard had instructed 

On the data of the short notes which the marquis would 
scribble on the margin of all the various paper which were 
addressed to him, Julien would compose answers which were 
nearly all signed. 

At the Theology School his professors complained of his 
lack of industry, but they did not fail to regard him as one of 
their most distinguished pupils. This varied work, tackled as 
it was with all the ardour of suffering ambition, soon robbed 
Julien of that fresh complexion which he had brought from the 
provinces. His pallor consiituted one of his merits in the 
eyes of his comrades, the young seminarist; he found them 
much less malicious, much less ready to bow down to a silver 
crown than those of Besangon ; they thought he was con- 
sumptive. The marquis had given him a horse. 

Julien fearing that he might meet people during his rides on 
horseback, had given out that this exercise had been prescribed 
by the doctors. The abbe Pirard had taken him into several 


Jansenist Societies. Julien was astonished; the idea of re- 
ligion was indissolubly connected in his mind with the ideas of 
hypocrisy and covetousness. He admired those austere pious 
men who never gave a thought to their income. Several 
Jansensists became friendly with him and would give him 
advice. A new world opened before him. At the Jansenists 
he got to know a comte Altamira, who was nearly six feet 
high, was a Liberal, a believer, and had been condemned to 
death in his own country. He was struck by the strange con- 
trast of devoutness and love of liberty. 

Julien's relations with the young comte had become cool. 
Norbert had thought that he answered the jokes of his friends 
with too much sharpness. Julien had committed one or two 
breaches of social etiquette and vowed to himself that he 
would never speak to mademoiselle Mathilde. They were 
always perfectly polite to him in the hotel de la Mole but he 
felt himself quite lost. His provincial commonsense explained 
this result by the vulgar proverb Tout beau tout nouveau. 

He gradually came to have a little more penetration than 
during his first days, or it may have been that the first glamour 
of Parisian urbanity had passed of. As soon as he left off 
working, he fell a prey to a mortal boredom. He was ex- 
periencing the withering effects of that admirable politeness so 
typical of good society, which is so perfectly modulated to 
every degree of the social hierarchy. 

No doubt the provinces can be reproached with a common- 
ness and lack of polish in their tone ; but they show a certain 
amount of passion, when they answer you. Julien's self- 
respect was never wounded at the hotel de la Mole, but he 
often felt at the end of the day as though he would like to cry. 
A cafe-waiter in the provinces will take an interest in you if 
you happen to have some accident as you enter his cafe, but 
if this accident has everything about it which is disagreeable 
to your vanity, he will repeat ten times in succession the very 
word which tortures you, as he tells you how sorry he is. At 
Paris they make a point of laughing in secret, but you always 
remain a stranger. 

We pass in silence over a number of little episodes which 
would have made Julien ridiculous, if he had not been to some 
extent above ridicule. A foolish sensibility resulted in his 
committing innumerable acts of bad taste. All his pleasures 


were precautions ; he practiced pistol shooting every day, he 
was one of the promising pupils of the most famous maitres 
d'armes. As soon as he had an instant to himself, instead of 
employing it in reading as he did before, he would rush off to 
the riding school and ask for the most vicious horses. When he 
went out with the master of the riding school he was almost 
invariably thrown. 

The marquis found him convenient by reason of his per- 
sistent industry, his silence and his intelligence, and gradually 
took him into his confidence with regard to all his affairs, 
which were in any way difficult to unravel. The marquis was a 
sagacious business man on all those occasious when his lofty 
ambition gave him some respite ; having special information 
within his reach, he would speculate successfully on the 
Exchange. He would buy mansions and forests; but he 
would easily lose his temper. He would give away hundreds 
of louis, and would go to law for a few hundred francs. Rich 
men with a lofty spirit have recourse to business not so 
much for results as for distraction. The marquis needed a 
chief of staff who would put all his money affairs into clear 
and lucid order. Madame de la Mole, although of so even a 
character, sometimes made fun of Julien. Great ladies have 
a horror of those unexpected incidents which are produced by 
a sensitive character; they constitute the opposite pole of 
etiquette. On two or three occasions the marquis took his 
part. " If he is ridiculous in your salon, he triumphs in his 
office." Julien on his side thought he had caught the 
marquise's secret. She deigned to manifest an interest in 
everything the minute the Baron de la Joumate was announced. 
He was a cold individual with an expressionless physiognomy. 
He was tall, thin, ugly, very well dressed, passed his life in 
his chateau, and generally speaking said nothing about any- 
thing. Such was his outlook on life. Madame de la Mole 
would have been happy for the first time in her life if she could 
have made him her daughter's husband. 



If fatuity is pardonable it is in one's first youth, for it is then 
the exaggeration of an amiable thing. It needs an air of love, 
gaiety, nonchalance. But fatuity coupled with self-importance ; 
fatuity with a solemn and self-sufficient manner ! This ex- 
travagance of stupidity was reserved for the XlXth century. 
Such are the persons who want to unchain the hydra of 
revolutions ! LE JOHANNISBURG, Pamphlet. 

Considering that he was a new arrival who was too dis- 
dainful to put any questions, Julien did not fall into unduly 
great mistakes. One day when he was forced into a cafe in 
the Rue St. Honore by a sudden shower, a big man in a 
beaver coat, surprised by his gloomy look, looked at him in 
return just as mademoiselle Amanda's lover had done before 
at Besancon. 

Julien had reproached himself too often for having endured 
the other insult to put up with this stare. He asked for an 
explanation. The man in the tail-coat immediately addressed 
him in the lowest and most insulting language. All the people 
in the cafe surrounded them. The passers-by stopped before 
the door. Julien always carried some little pistols as a matter 
of precaution. His hand was grasping them nervously in his 
pocket. Nevertheless he behaved wisely and confined him- 
self to repeating to his man " Monsieur, your address, I despise 

The persistency in which he kept repeating these six words 
eventually impressed the crowd. 

" By Jove, the other who's talking all to himself ought to 
give him his address," they exclaimed. The man in the tail- 
coat hearing this repeated several times, flung five or six cards 
in Julien's face. 


Fortunately none of them hit him in the face; he had 
mentally resolved not to use his pistols except in the event 
of his being hit. The man went away, though not without 
turning round from time to time to shake his fist and hurl 
insults at him. 

Julien was bathed in sweat. " So," he said angrily to him- 
self, " the meanest of mankind has it in his power to affect 
me as much as this. How am I to kill so humiliating a 
sensitiveness ? " 

Where was he to find a second ? He did not have a single 
friend. He had several acquaintances, but they all regularly 
left him after six weeks of social intercourse. " I am un- 
sociable," he thought, and "lam now cruelly punished for it." 
Finally it occurred to him to rout out an old lieutenant of the 
96th, named Lieven, a poor devil with whom he often used to 
fence. Julien was frank with him. 

11 1 am quite willing to be your second," said Lieven, " but 
on one condition. If you fail to wound your man you will 
fight with me straight away." 

"Agreed," said Julien quite delighted; and they went to 
find M. de Beauvoisis at the address indicated on his card at 
the end of the Faubourg Saint Germain. 

It was seven o'clock in the morning. It was only when he 
was being ushered in, that Julien thought that it might quite 
well be the young relation of Madame de Renal, who had 
once been employed at the Rome or Naples Embassy, and 
who had given the singer Geronimo a letter of introduction. 

Julien gave one of the cards which had been flung at him the 
previous evening together with one of his own to a tall valet. 

He and his second were kept waiting for a good three- 
quarters of an hour. Eventually they were ushered in to a 
elegantly furnished apartment. They found there a tall 
young man who was dressed like a doll. His features pre- 
sented the perfection and the lack of expression of Greek 
beauty. His head, which was remarkably straight, had the 
finest blonde hair. It was dressed with great care and not a 
single hair was out of place. 

" It was to have his hair done like this, that is why this 
damned fop has kept us waiting," thought the lieutenant of 
the 96th. The variegated dressing gown, the morning trousers, 
everything down to the embroidered slippers was correct. He 



was marvellously well-groomed. His blank and aristocratic 
physiognomy betokened rare and orthodox ideas ; the ideal 
of a Mettemichian diplomatist. Napoleon as well did not like 
to have in his entourage officers who thought. 

Julien, to whom his lieutenant of the 96th had explained, 
that keeping him waiting was an additional insult after having 
thrown his card so rudely in his face, entered brusquely M. de 
Beauvoisis' room. He intended to be insolent, but at the same 
time to exhibit good form. 

Julien was so astonished by the niceness of M. de Beauvoisis' 
manners and by the combination of formality, self-importance, 
and self-satisfaction in his demeanour, by the admirable 
elegance of everything that surrounded him, that he abandoned 
immediately all idea of being insolent. It was not his man 
of the day before. His astonishment was so great at meeting 
so distinguished a person, instead of the rude creature 
whom he was looking for, that he could not find a single word 
to say. He presented one of the cards which had been thrown 
at him. 

"That's my name," said the young diplomat, not at all 
impressed by Julien's black suit at seven o'clock in the 
morning, " but I do not understand the honour." 

His manner of pronouncing these last words revived a little 
of Julien's bad temper. 

"I have come to fight you, monsieur," and he explained in 
a few words the whole matter. 

M. Charles de Beauvoisis, after mature reflection, was fairly 
satisfied with the cut of Julien's black suit. 

" It comes from Staub, that's clear," he said to himself, as 
he heard him speak. " That waistcoat is in good taste. 
Those boots are all right, but on the other hand just think of 
wearing a black suit in the early morning ! It must be to have 
a better chance of not being hit," said the chevalier de 
Beauvoisis to himself. 

After he had given himself this explanation he became 
again perfectly polite to Julien, and almost treated him as an 
equal. The conversation was fairly lengthy, for the matter 
was a delicate one, but eventually Julien could not refuse to 
acknowledge the actual facts. The perfectly mannered young 
man before him did not bear any resemblance to the vulgar 
fellow who had insulted him the previous day 


Julien felt an invincible repugnance towards him. He 
noted the self-sufficiency of the chevalier de Beauvoisis, for 
that was the name by which he had referred to himself, 
shocked as he was when Julien called him simply " Monsieur." 

He admired his gravity which, though tinged with a certain 
modest fatuity, he never abandoned for a single moment. He 
was astonished at his singular manner of moving his tongue as 
he pronounced his words, but after all, this did not present 
the slightest excuse for picking a quarrel. 

The young diplomatist very graciously offered to fight, but 
the ex-lieutenant of the 96th, who had been sitting down for 
an hour with his legs wide apart, his hands on his thigh, and 
his elbows stuck out, decided that his friend, monsieur de 
Sorel, was not the kind Jto go and pick a quarrel with a 
man because someone else had stolen that man's visiting 

Julien went out in a very bad temper. The chevalier de 
Beauvoisis' carriage was waiting for him in the courtyard before 
the steps. By chance Julien raised his eyes and recognised 
in the coachman his man of the day before. 

Seeing him, catching hold of him by his big jacket, tumbling 
him down from his seat, and horse-whipping him thoroughly 
took scarcely a moment. 

Two lackeys tried to defend their comrade. Julien received 
some blows from their fists. At the same moment, he cocked 
one of his little pistols and fired on them. They took to 
flight. All this took about a minute. 

The chevalier de Beauvoisis descended the staircase with 
the most pleasing gravity, repeating with his lordly pro- 
nunciation, " What is this, what is this." He was manifestly 
very curious, but his diplomatic importance would not allow 
him to evince any greater interest. 

When he knew what it was all about, a certain haughtiness 
tried to assert itself in that expression of slightly playful 
nonchalance which should never leave a diplomatist's face. 

The lieutenant of the 96th began to realise that M. de 
Beauvoisis was anxious to fight. He was also diplomatic 
enough to wish to reserve for his friend the advantage of 
taking the initiative. 

" This time," he exclaimed, " there is ground for duel." 

I think there's enough," answered the diplomat 


" Turn that rascal out," he said to his lackeys. " Let 
someone else get up." 

The door of the carriage was open. The chevalier insisted 
on doing the honours to Julien and his friend. They sent for 
a friend of M. de Beauvoisis, who chose them a quiet place. 
The conversation on their way went as a matter of fact very 
well indeed. The only extraordinary feature was the diplomatist 
in a dressing-gown. 

" These gentlemen, although very noble, are by no means 
as boring," thought Julien, " as the people who come and 
dine at M. de la Mole's, and I can see why," he added a moment 
afterwards. " They allow themselves to be indecent." They 
talked about the dancers that the public had distinguished 
with its favour at the ballet presented the night before. The 
two gentlemen alluded to some spicy anecdotes of which 
Julien and his second, the lieutenant of the 96th, were 
absolutely ignorant. 

Julien was not stupid enough to pretend to know them. 
He confessed his ignorance with a good grace. This frank- 
ness pleased the chevalier's friend. He told him these 
stories with the greatest detail and extremely well. 

One thing astonished Julien inordinately. The carriage 
was pulled up for a moment by an altar which was being built 
in the middle of the street for the procession of Corpus Christi 
Day. The two gentlemen indulged in the luxury of several 
jests. According to them, the cure was the son of an arch- 
bishop. Such a joke would never have been heard in the house 
of M. de la Mole, who was trying to be made a duke. The duel 
was over in a minute. Julien got a ball in his arm. They 
bandaged it with handkerchiefs which they wetted with 
brandy, and the chevalier de Beauvoisis requested Julien with 
great politeness to allow him to take him home in the same 
carriage that had brought him. When Julien gave the name 
of M. de la Mole's hotel, the young diplomat and his friend 
exchanged looks. Julien's fiacre was here, but they found 
these gentlemen's conversation more entertaining than that of 
the good lieutenant of the 96th. 

" By Jove, so a duel is only that," thought Julien. " What 
luck I found that coachman again. How unhappy I should 
have been if I had had to put up with that insult as well." 
Thesin amug conversation had scarcely been interrupted. 


Julien realised that the affectation of diplomatists is good for 

" So ennui," he said himself, " is not a necessary incident of 
conversation among well-born people. These gentlemen make 
fun of the Corpus Christi procession and dare to tell extremely 
obscene anecdotes, and what is more, with picturesque details. 
The only thing they really lack is the ability to discuss politics 
logically, and that lack is more than compensated by their 
graceful tone, and the perfect aptness of their expressions." 
Julien experienced a lively inclination for them. " How happy 
I should be to see them often." 

They had scarcely taken leave of each other before the 
chevalier de Beauvoisis had enquiries made. They were not 

He was very curious to know his man. Could he decently 
pay a call on him ? The little information he had succeeded 
in obtaining from him was not of an encouraging character. 

" Oh, this is awful," he said to his second. " I can't 
possibly own up to having fought a duel with a mere secretary 
of M. de la Mole, simply because my coachman stole my 
visiting cards." 

"There is no doubt that all this may make you look 

That very evening the chevalier de Beauvoisis and his friend 
said everywhere that this M. Sorel who was, moreover, quite 
a charming young man, was a natural son of an intimate friend 
of the marquis de la Mole. This statement was readily 
accepted. Once it was established, the young diplomatist 
and friend deigned to call several times on Julien during the 
fortnight. Julien owned to them that he had only been to the 
Opera once in his life. " That is awful," said one, " that is 
the only place one does go to. Your first visit must be when 
they are playing the ' Comte Ory.' " 

The chevalier de Beauvoisis introduced him at the opera 
to the famous singer Geronimo, who was then enjoying an 
immense success. 

Julien almost paid court to the chevalier. His mixture of 
self-respect, mysterious self-importance, and fatuous youthful- 
ness fascinated him. The chevalier, for example, would 
stammer a little, simply because he had the honour of seeing 
frequently a very noble lord who had this defect. Julien had 


never before found combined in one and the same person the 
drollery which amuses, and those perfect manners which 
should be the object of a poor provincial's imitation. 

He was seen at the opera with the chevalier de Beauvoisis. 
This association got him talked about. 

" Well," said M. de la Mole to him one day, " so here you 
are, the narural son of a rich gentleman of Franche Comte, an 
intimate friend of mine." 

The marquis cut Julien short as he started to protest that 
he had not in any way contributed to obtaining any credence 
for this rumour. 

" M. de Beauvoisis did not fancy having fought a duel with 
the son of a carpenter." 

" I know it, I know it," said M. de la Mole. " It is my 
business now to give some consistency to this story which 
rather suits me. But I have one favour to ask of you, which 
will only cost you a bare half-hour of your time. Go and 
watch every opera day at half-past eleven all the people in 
society coming out in the vestibule. I still see you have 
certain provincial mannerisms. You must rid yourself of 
them. Besides it would do no harm to know, at any rate by 
sight, some of the great personages to whom I may one day 
send you on a commission. Call in at the box office to get 
identified. Admission has been secured for you." 



And I got advancement, not on my merit, but because my 
master had the gout. Bertolotti. 

The reader is perhaps surprised by this free and almos 
friendly tone. We had forgotten to say that the marquis had 
been confined to his house for six weeks by the gout. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole and her mother were at Hyeres 
near the marquise's mother. The comte Norbert only saw his 
father at stray moments. They got on very well, but had 
nothing to say to each other. M. de la Mole, reduced to 
Julien's society, was astonished to find that he possessed ideas. 
He made him read the papers to him. Soon the young 
secretary was competent to pick out the interesting passages. 
There was a new paper which the marquis abhorred. He 
had sworn never to read it, and spoke about it every day. 
Julien laughed. In his irritation against the present time, the 
marquis made him read Livy aloud. The improvised 
translation of the Latin text amused him. The marquis said 
one day in that tone of excessive politeness which frequently 
tried Julien's patience, 

" Allow me to present you with a blue suit, my dear Sorel. 
When you find it convenient to wear it and to come and see 
me, I shall look upon you as the younger brother of the 
comte de Chaulnes, that is to say, the son of my friend the 
old Duke." 

Julien did not quite gather what it was all about, but he 
tried a visit in the blue suit that very evening. The marquis 
treated him like an equal. Julien had a spirit capable of 
appreciating true politeness, but he had no idea of nuances. 
Before this freak of the marquis's he would have sworn that it 


was impossibls for him to have been treated with more 
consideration. " What an admirable talent," said Julien to 
himself. When he got up to go, the marquis apologised for 
not being able to accompany him by reason ot his gout. 

Julien was preoccupied by this strange idea. " Perhaps he 
is making fun of me," he thought. He went to ask advice of 
the abbe Pirard, who being less polite than the marquis, made 
no other answer except to whistle and change the subject. 

Julien presented himself to the marquis the next morning 
in his black suit, with his letter case and his letters for 
signature. He was received in the old way, but when he 
wore the blue suir that evening, the marquis's tone was quite 
different, and absolutely as polite as on the previous day. 

"As you are not exactly bored," said the marquis to him, 
" by these visits whicn you are kind enough to pay to a poor 
old man, you must tell him about all the little incidents of 
your life, but you must be frank and think of nothing except 
narrating them clearly and in an amusing way. For one 
must amuse oneself," continued the marquis. " That's the 
only reality in life. I can't have my life saved in a battle 
every day, or get a present of a million francs every day, but if 
I had Rivarol here by my sofa he would rid me every day of 
an hour of suffering and boredom. I saw a lot of him at 
Hamburg during the emigration." 

And the marquis told Julien the stories of Rivarol and the 
inhabitants of Hamburg who needed the combined efforts of 
four individuals to understand an epigram. M. de la Mole, 
being reduced to the society of this little abbe, tried to teach 
him. He put Julien's pride on its mettle. As he was asked 
to speak the truth, Julien resolved to tell everything, but to 
suppress two things, his fanatical admiration for the name 
which irritated the marquis, and that complete scepticism, 
which was not particularly appropriate to a prospective cure. 
His little affair with the chevalier de Beauvoisis came in very 
handy. The marquis laughed till the tears came into his 
eyes at the scene in the cafe in the Rue St. Honore with the 
coachman who had loaded him with sordid insults. The 
occasion was marked by a complete frankness between the 
marquis and the protege. 

M. de la Mole became interested in this singular character. 
At the beginning he had encouraged Jullikn's droll blunders 


in order to enjoy laughing at them. Soon he found it more 
interesting to correct very gently this young man's false 
outlook on life. 

" All other provincials who come to Paris admire everything," 
thought the marquis. "This one hates everything. They 
have too much affectation ; he has not affectation enough ; and 
fools take him for a fool." 

The attack of gout was protracted by the great winter cold 
and lasted some months. 

" One gets quite attached to a fine spaniel," thought the 
marquis. " Why should I be so ashamed of being attached to 
this little abbe ? He is original. I treat him as a son. Well, 
where's the bother? The whim, if it lasts, will cost me a 
diamond and five hundred louis in my will." Once the 
marquis had realised his protege's strength of character, he 
entrusted him with some new business every day. 

Julien noticed with alarm that this great lord would often 
give him inconsistent orders with regard to the same matter. 

That might compromise him seriously. Julien now made 
a point whenever he worked with him, of bringing a register 
with him in which he wrote his instructions which the 
marquis initialled. Julien had now a clerk who would 
transcribe the instructions relating to each matter in a separate 
book. This book also contained a copy of all the letters. 

This idea seemed at first absolutely boring and ridiculous, 
but in two months the marquis appreciated its advantages. 
Julien suggested to him that he should take a clerk out of a 
banker's who was to keep proper book-keeping accounts of all 
the receipts and of all the expenses of the estates which Julien 
had been charged to administer. 

These measures so enlightened the marquis as to his own 
affairs that he could indulge the pleasure of undertaking two 
or three speculations without the help of his nominee who 
always robbed him. 

" Take three thousand francs for yourself," he said one day 
to his young steward. 

" Monsieur, I should lay myself open to calumny." 

" What do you want then ? " retorted the marquis irritably. 

" Perhaps you will be kind enough to make out a statement 
of account and enter it in your own hand in the book. That 
order will give me a sum of 3,000 francs. Besides it's M. the 


abbe Pirard who had the idea of all this exactness in 
accounts." The marquis wrote out his instructions in the 
register with the bored air of the Marquis de Moncade listen- 
ing to the accounts of his steward M. Poisson. 

Business was never talked when Julien appeared in the 
evening in his blue suit. The kindness of the marquis was so 
flattering to the self-respect of our hero, which was always 
morbidly sensitive, that in spite of himself, he soon came to 
feel a kind of attachment for this nice old man. It is not 
that Julien was a man of sensibility as the phrase is understood 
at Paris, but he was not a monster, and no one since the 
death of the old major had talked to him with so much kind- 
ness. He observed that the marquis showed a politeness and 
consideration for his own personal feelings which he had never 
found in the old surgeon. He now realised that the surgeon 
was much prouder of his cross than was the marquis of his 
blue ribbon. The marquis's father had been a great lord. 

One day, at the end of a morning audience for the transac- 
tion of business, when the black suit was worn, Julien 
happened to amuse the marquis who kept him for a couple of 
hours, and insisted on giving him some banknotes which his 
nominee had just brought from the house. 

" I hope M. le Marquis, that I am not deviating from the 
profound respect which I owe you, if I beg you to allow me 
to say a word." 

" Speak, my friend." 

" M. ie Marquis will deign to allow me to refuse this gift. 
It is not meant for the man in the black suit, and it would 
completely spoil those manners which you have kindly put up 
with in the man in the blue suit." He saluted with much 
respect and went out without looking at his employer. 

This incident amused the marquis. He told it in the 
evening to the abbe Pirard. 

" I must confess one thing to you, my dear abbe. I know 
Julien's birth, and I authorise you not to regard this confidence 
as a secret." 

His conduct this morning is noble, thought the marquis, so 
I will ennoble him myself. 

Some time afterwards the marquis was able to go out. 

" Go and pass a couple of months at London," he said to 
Julien. "Ordinary and special couriers will bring you the 


letters I have received, together with my notes. You will 
write out the answers and send them back to me, putting each 
letter inside the answer. I have ascertained that the delay 
will be no more than five days." 

As he took the post down the Calais route, Julien was 
astonished at the triviality of the alleged business on which he 
had been sent. 

We will say nothing about the feeling of hate and almost 
horror with which he touched English soil. His mad passion 
for Bonaparte is already known. He saw in every officer a Sir 
Hudson Low, in every great noble a Lord Bathurst, ordering 
the infamies of St. Helena and being recompensed by six 
years of office. 

At London he really got to know the meaning of sublime 
fatuity. He had struck up a friendship with some young 
Russian nobles who initiated him. 

" Your future is assured, my dear Sorel," they said to him. 
" You naturally have that cold demeanour, a thousand leagues 
away from the sensation one has at the moment > that we have 
been making such efforts to acquire." 

" You have not understood your century," said the Prince 
Korasoff to him. " Always do the opposite of what is expected 
of you. On my honour there you have the sole religion of 
the period. Don't be foolish or affected, for then follies and 
affectations will be expected of you, and the maxim will not 
longer prove true." 

Julien covered himself with glory one day in the Salon of 
the Duke of Fitz-Folke who had invited him to dinner 
together with the Prince Korasoff. They waited for an hour. 
The way in which Julien conducted himself in the middle of 
twenty people who were waiting is still quoted as a precedent 
among the young secretaries of the London Embassy. His 
demeanour was unimpeachable. 

In spite of his friends, the dandies, he made a point of 
seeing the celebrated Philip Vane, the one philosopher that 
England has had since Locke. He found him finishing his 
seventh year in prison. The aristocracy doesn't joke in 
this country, thought Julien. Moreover Vane is disgraced, 
calumniated, etc. 

Julien found him in cheery spirits. The rage of the 
aristocracy prevented him from being bored. "There's the 


only merry man I've seen in England," thought Julien to 
himself, as he left the prison. 

"The idea which tyrants find most useful is the idea of 
God," Vane had said to him. 

We suppress the rest of the system as being cynical. 

" What amusing notion do you bring me from England ? " 
said M. la Mole to him on his return. He was silent. 
" What notion do you bring me, amusing or otherwise ? " 
repeated the marquis sharply. 

" In the first place," said Julien, " The sanest Englishman 
is mad one hour every day. He is visited by the Demon of 
Suicide who is the local God. 

" In the second place, intellect and genius lose twenty-five 
per cent, of their value when they disembark in England. 

" In the third place, nothing in the world is so beautiful, so 
admirable, so touching, as the English landscapes." 

11 Now it is my turn," said the marquis. 

" In the first place, why do you go and say at the ball at 
the Russian Ambassador's that there were three hundred 
thousand young men of twenty in France who passionately 
desire war ? Do you think that is nice for the kings ? " 

" One doesn't know what to do when talking to great 
diplomats," said Julien. "They have a mania for starting 
serious discussions. If one confines oneself to the common- 
places of the papers, one is taken for a fool. If one indulges 
in some original truth, they are astonished and at a loss for an 
answer, and get you informed by the first Secretary of the 
Embassy at seven o'clock next day that your conduct has been 

"Not bad," said the marquis laughing. "Anyway I will 
wager Monsieur Deep-one that you have not guessed what you 
went to do in England." 

" Pardon me," answered Julien. " I went there to dine once 
a week with the king's ambassador, who is the most polite of 

"You went to fetch this cross you see here," said the 
marquis to him. " I do not want to make you leave off your 
black suit, and I have got accustomed to the more amusing 
tone I have assumed with the man who wears the blue suit. 
So understand this until further orders. When I see this cross, 
you will be my friend, the Duke of Chaulne's younger son, 


who has been employed in the diplomatic service the last six 
months without having any idea of it. Observe," added the 
marquis very seriously, cutting short all manifestations of 
thanks, " that I do not want you to forget your place. That 
is always a mistake and a misfortune both for patron and for 
dependent. When my lawsuits bore you, or when you no 
longer suit me, I will ask a good living like that of our good 
friend the abbe Pirard's for you, and nothing more," added 
the marquis dryly. This put Julien's pride at its ease. He 
talked much more. He did not so frequently think himself 
insulted and aimed at by those phrases which are susceptible 
of some interpretation which is scarcely polite, and which 
anybody may give utterance to in the course of an animated 

This cross earned him a singular visit. It was that of the 
baron de Valenod, who came to Paris to thank the Minister 
for his barony, and arrive at an understanding with him. He 
was going to be nominated mayor of Verrieres, and to 
supersede M. de Renal. 

Julien did not fail to smile to himself when M. Valenod 
gave him to understand that they had just found out that M. 
de Renal was a Jacobin. The fact was that the new baron 
was the ministerial candidate at the election for which they 
were all getting ready, and that it was M. de Renal who was 
the Liberal candidate at the great electoral college of the 
department, which was, in fact, very ultra. 

It was in vain that Julien tried to learn something about 
madame de Renal. The baron seemed to remember their 
former rivalry, and was impenetrable. He concluded by 
canvassing Julien for his father's vote at the election which 
was going to take place. Julien promised to write. 

"You ought, monsieur le Chevalier, to present me to M. 
the marquis de la Mole." 

" I ought, as a matter of fact," thought Julien. " But a 
rascal like that ! " 

" As a matter of fact," he answered, " I am too small a 
personage in the hotel de la Mole to take it upon myself to 
introduce anyone." Julien told the marquis everything. In 
the evening he described Valenod's pretensions, as well as his 
deeds and feats since 18 14. 

" Not only will you present the new baron to me," replied 


de la Mole, very seriously, "but I will invite him to dinner 
for the day after to-morrow. He will be one of our new 

" If that is the case, I ask for my father the post of director 
of the workhouse," answered Julian, coldly. 

" With pleasure," answered the marquis gaily. " It shall 
be granted. I was expecting a lecture. You are getting on." 

M. de Valenod informed Julien that the manager of the 
lottery office at Verrieres had just died. Julien thought it 
humorous to give that place to M. de Cholin, the old dotard 
whose petition he had once picked up in de la Mole's room. 
The marquis laughed heartily at the petition, which Julien 
recited as he made him sign the letter which requested that 
appointment of the minister of finance. 

M. de Cholin had scarcely been nominated, when Julien 
learnt that that post had been asked by the department for 
the celebrated geometrician, monsieur Gros. That generous 
man had an income of only 1400 francs, and every year had lent 
600 to the late manager who had just died, to help him bring 
up his family. 

Julien was astonished at what he had done. 

"That's nothing," he said to himself. " It will be necessary 
to commit several other injustices if I mean to get on, and 
also to conceal them beneath pretty, sentimental speeches. 
Poor monsieur Gros ! It is he who deserves the cross. It is 
I who have it, and I ought to conform to the spirit of the 
Government which gives it me." 



" Thy water refreshes me not," said the transformed genie. 
" 'Tis nevertheless the freshest well in ali Diar-Bekir Peliico. 

One day Julien had just returned from the charming estate 
of Villequier on the banks of the Seine, which was the especial 
subject of M. de la Mole's interest because it was the only one 
of all his properties which had belonged to the celebrated 
Boniface de la Mole. 

He found the marquise and her daughter, who had just 
come back from Hyeres, in the hotel. Julien was a dandy 
now, and understood the art of Paris life. He manifested a 
perfect coldness towards mademoiselle de la Mole. He 
seemed to have retained no recollection of the day when she 
had asked him so gaily for details of his fall from his horse. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole thought that he had grown taller 
and paler. There was no longer anything of the provincial 
in his figure or his appearance. It was not so with his con- 
versation. Too much of the serious and too much of the 
positive element were still noticeable. In spite of these sober 
qualities, his conversation, thanks to his pride, was destitute 
of any trace of the subordinate. One simply felt that there 
were still too many things which he took seriously. But one 
saw that he was the kind of man to stick to his guns. 

" He lacks lightness of touch, but not brains," said made- 
moiselle de la Mole to her father, as she rallied him on the 
cross that he had given Julien. " My brother has been asking 
you for it for sixteen months, and he is a La Mole." 

" Yes, but Julien has surprises, and that's what the de la 
Mole, whom you were referring to, has never been guilty of." 

M. the due de Retz was announced. 


Mathilde felt herself seized by an irresistible attack of 
yawning. She knew so well the old gildings and the old 
habitues of her father's salon. She conjured up an absolutely 
boring picture of the life which she was going to take up at 
Paris, and yet, when at Hyeres, she had regretted Paris. 

"And yet I am nineteen," she thought. " That's the age of 
happiness, say all those gilt-edged ninnies'." 

She looked at eight or ten new volumes of poetry which 
had accumulated on the table in the salon during her 
journey in Provence. She had the misfortune to have more 
brains than M.M. de Croisnois, de Caylus, de Luz, and her 
other friends. She anticipated all that they were going to tell 
her about the fine sky of Provence, poetry, the South, etc., etc. 

These fine eyes, which were the home of the deepest ennui, 
and worse still, of the despair of ever finding pleasure, lingered 
on Julien. At any rate, he was not exactly like the others. 

" Monsieur Sorel," she said, in that short, sharp voice, 
destitute of all femininity, which is so frequent among young 
women of the upper class. 

" Monsieur Sorel, are you coming to-night to M. de Retz's 

" Mademoiselle, I have not had the honour of being 
presented to M. the duke." (One would have said that these 
words and that title seared the mouth of the proud provincial). 

" He asked my brother to take you there, and if you go, 
you could tell me some details about the Villequier estate. 
We are thinking of going there in the spring, and I would like 
to know if the chateau is habitable, and if the neighbouring 
places are as pretty as they say. There are so many unmerited 

Julien did not answer. 

" Come to the ball with my brother," she added, very dryly. 

Julien bowed respectfully. 

" So I owe my due to the members of the family, even in 
the middle of a ball. Am I not paid to be their business 
man?" His bad temper added, "God knows, moreover, if 
what I tell the daughter will not put out the plans of the 
father, brother, and mother. It is just like the court of a 
sovereign prince. You have to be absolutely negative, and 
yet give no one any right to complain." 

" How that big girl displeases me ! " he thought, as he 


watched the walk of Mademoiselle de la Mole, whom her 
mother had called to present to several women friends of 
hers. She exaggerates all the fashions. Her dress almost 
falls down to her shoulders, she is even paler than before she 
went away. How nondescript her hair has grown as the 
result of being blonde ! You would say that the light passed 
through it. 

What a haughty way of bowing and of looking at you ! 
What queenly gestures ! Mademoiselle de la Mole had just 
called her brother at the moment when he, was leaving the 

The comte de Norbert approached Julien. 

" My dear Sorel," he said to him. " Where would you like 
me to pick you up to-night for Monsieur's ball. He expressly 
asked me to bring you." 

" I know well whom I have to thank for so much kindness," 
answered Julien bowing to the ground. 

His bad temper, being unable to find anything to lay hold 
of in the polite and almost sympathetic tone in which Norbert 
had spoken to him, set itself to work on the answer he had 
made to that courteous invitation. He detected in it a trace 
of subservience. 

When he arrived at the ball in the evening, he was struck 
with the magnificence of the Hotel de Retz. The courtyard 
at the entrance was covered with an immense tent of crimson 
with golden stars. Nothing could have been more elegant. 
Beyond the [tent, the court had been transformed into a wood 
of orange trees and of pink laurels in full flower. As they had 
been careful to bury the vases sufficiently deep, the laurel trees 
and the orange trees appeared to come straight out of the 
ground. The road which the carriages traversed was sanded. 

All this seemed extraordinary to our provincial. He had 
never had any idea of such magnificence. In a single instant 
his thrilled imagination had left his bad temper a thousand 
leagues behind. In the carriage on their way to the ball 
Norbert had been happy, while he saw everything in black 
colours. They had scarcely entered the courtyard before the 
r61es changed. 

Norbert was only struck by a few details which, in the midst 
of all that magnificence, had not been able to be attended to. 
He calculated the expense of each item, and Julien remarked 



that the nearer he got to a sum total, the more jealous and 
bad-tempered he appeared. 

As for himself, he was fascinated and full of admiration when 
he reached the first of the salons where they were dancing. 
His emotion was so great that it almost made him nervous. 
There was a crush at the door of the second salon, and the 
crowd was so great that he found it impossible to advance. 
The decorations of the second salon presented the Alhambra 
of Grenada. 

"That's the queen of the ball one must admit," said a 
young man with a moustache whose shoulder stuck into 
Julien's chest. 

" Mademoiselle Formant who has been the prettiest all the 
winter, realises that she will have to go down to the second 
place. See how strange she looks." 

" In truth she is straining every nerve to please. Just look 
at that gracious smile now that she is doing the figure in that 
quadrille all alone. On my honour it is unique." 

" Mademoiselle de la Mole looks as if she controlled the 
pleasure which she derives from her triumph, of which she is 
perfectly conscious. One might say that she fears to please 
anyone who talks to her." 

" Very good. That is the art of alluring." 

Julien vainly endeavoured to catch sight of the alluring 
woman. Seven or eight men who were taller than he pre- 
vented him from seeing her. 

" There is quite a lot of coquetry in that noble reserve," 
said the young man with a moustache. 

" And in those big blue eyes, which are lowered so slowly 
when one would think they were on the point of betraying 
themselves," answered his neighbour. " On my faith, nothing 
could be cleverer." 

"See the pretty Formant looking quite common next to 
her," said the first. 

"That air of reserve means how much sweetness would I 
spend on you if you were the man who was worthy of me." 

" And who could be worthy of the sublime Mathilde," said 
the first man. " Some sovereign prince, handsome, witty, 
well-made, a hero in war, and twenty years old at the most." 

"The natural son of the Emperor of Russia .... who 
would be made a sovereign in honour of his marriage, or quite 


simply the comte de Thaler, who looks like a dressed-up 

The door was free, and Julien could go in. 

" Since these puppets consider her so remarkable, it is worth 
while for me to study her," he thought. " I shall then under- 
stand what these people regard as perfection." 

As his eyes were trying to find her, Mathilde looked at him. 
" My duty calls me," said Julien to himself. But it was only 
his expression which was bad-humoured. 

His curiosity made him advance with a pleasure which the 
extremely low cut dress on Mathilde's shoulder very quickly 
accentuated, in a manner which was scarcely flattering for his 
own self-respect. " Her beauty has youth," he thought. Five 
or six people, whom Julien recognised as those who had been 
speaking at the door were between her and him. 

" Now, Monsieur, you have been here all the winter," she said 
to him. " Is it not true that this is the finest ball of the 
season " 

He did not answer. 

"This quadrille of Coulon's strikes me as admirable, and 
those ladies dance it perfectly." The young men turned 
round to see who was the happy man, an answer from whom 
was positively insisted on. The answer was not encouraging. 

" I shall not be able to be a good judge, mademoiselle, I 
pass my life in writing. This is the first ball of this magnifi- 
cence which I have ever seen." 

The young men with moustaches were scandalised. 

"You are a wise man, Monsieur Sorel," came the answer 
with a more marked interest. " You look upon all these balls, 
all these festivities, like a philosopher, like J. J. Rousseau. 
All these follies astonish without alluring you." 

Julien's imagination had just hit upon an epigram which 
banished all illusions from his mind. His mouth assumed the 
expression of a perhaps slightly exaggerated disdain. 

" J. J. Rousseau," he answered, " is in my view only a fool 
when he takes it upon himself to criticise society. He did 
not understand it, and he went into it with the spirit of a 
lackey who has risen above his station." 

" He wrote the Contrat Social" answered Mathilde 

"While he preaches the Republic, and the overthrow of 


monarchical dignities, the parvenu was intoxicated with hap- 
piness if a duke would go out of his way after dinner to 
one of his friends." 

" Oh yes, the Duke of Luxembourg at Montmorency, used 
to accompany a Coindet from the neighbourhood of Paris," 
went on Mademoiselle de la Mole, with all the pleasure and 
enthusiasm of her first flush of pedantry. She was intoxicated 
with her knowledge, almost like the academican who dis- 
covered the existence of King Feretrius. 

Julien's look was still penetrating and severe. Mathilde 
had had a moment's enthusiasm. Her partner's coldness 
disconcerted her profoundly. She was all the more astonished, 
as it was she who was accustomed to produce that particular 
effect on others. 

At this moment the marquis de Croisenois was advancing 
eagerly towards mademoiselle de la Mole. He was for a 
moment three yards away from her. He was unable to get 
closer because of the crowd. He smiled at the obstacle. 
The young marquise de Rouvray was near her. She was a 
cousin of Mathilde. She was giving her arm to her husband 
who had only married her a fortnight ago. The marquis de 
Rouvray, who was also very young, had all the love which 
seizes a man who, having contracted a marriage of convenience 
exclusively arranged by the notaries, finds a person who is 
ideally pretty. M. de Rouvray would be a duke on the death 
of a very old uncle. 

While the marquis de Croisenois was struggling to get 
through the crowd, and smiling at Mathilde she fixed her big 
divinely blue eyes on him and his neighbours. " Could 
anything be flatter," she said to herself. " There is Croisenois 
who wants to marry me, he is gentle and polite, he has perfect 
manners like M. de Rouvray. If they did not bore, those 
gentlemen would be quite charming. He too, would ac- 
company me to the ball with that smug limited expression. 
One year after the marriage I shall have my carriage, my 
horses, my dresses, my chateau twenty leagues from Paris. 
All this would be as nice as possible, and enough to make a 
Countess de Roiville, for example, die of envy and afterwards " 

Mathilde bored herself in anticipation. The marquis de 
Croisenois managed to approach her and spoke to her, but 
she was dreaming and did not listen to him. The noise of 


his words began to get mixed with the buzz of the ball. 
Her eye mechanically followed Julien who had gone away, 
with an air which, though respectful, was yet proud and 
discontented. She noticed in a corner far from the moving 
crowd, the comte Altamira who had been condemned to 
death in his own country and whom the reader knows already. 
One of his relatives had manied a Prince de Conti in the 
reign of Louis XIV. This historical fact was some protection 
against the police of the congregation. 

" I think being condemned to death is the only real 
distinction," said Mathilde. " It is the only thing which 
cannot be bought." 

"Why, that's an epigram, I just said, what a pity it did 
not come at a moment when I could have reaped all the 
credit for it." Mathilde had too much taste to work into the 
conversation a prepared epigram but at the same time she was 
too vain not to be extremely pleased with herself. A happy 
expression succeeded the palpable boredom of her face. The 
marquis de Croisenois, who had never left off talking, saw a 
chance of success and waxed twice as eloquent. 

" What objection could a caviller find with my epigram," 
said Mathilde to herself. " I would answer my critic in this 
way : The title of baron or vicomte is to be bought ; a 
cross, why it is a gift. My brother has just got one. What 
has he done? A promotion, why that can be obtained by 
being ten years in a garrison or have the minister of war for 
a relative, and you'll be a chief of a squadron like Norbert. 
A great fortune ! That's rather more difficult, and conse- 
quently more meritorious. It is really quite funny. It's the 
opposite of what the books say. Well, to win a fortune why you 
marry M. Rothschild's daughter. Really my epigram is quite 
deep. Being condemned to death is still the one privilege 
which one has never thought of canvassing." 

" Do you know the comte Altamira," she said to M. de 

Her thoughts seemed to have been so far away, and this 
question had so little connection with all that the poor 
marquis had been saying for the last five minutes, that his 
good temper was ruffled. He was nevertheless a man of 
wit and celebrated for being so. 

" Mathilde is eccentric," he thought, " that's a nuisance, 


but she will give her husband such a fine social position. I 
don't know how the marquis de la Mole manages. He is 
connected with all that is best in all parties. He is a man 
who is bound to come out on top. And, besides, this ec- 
centricity of Mathilde's may pass for genius. Genius when 
allied with good birth an 1 a large fortune, so far from being 
ridiculous, is highly distinguished. She has wit, moreover, 
when she wants to, that mixture in fact of brains, character, 
and ready wit which constitute perfection." 

As it is difficult to do two things at the same time, the 
marquis answered Mathilde with a vacant expression as 
though he were reciting a lesson. 

" Who does not know that poor Altamira ? " and he told 
her the history of his conspiracy, abortive, ridiculous and 

" Very absurd," said Mathilde as if she were talking to 
herself, " but he has done something. I want to see a man ; 
bring him to me," she said to the scandalized marquis. 

Comte Altamira was one of the most avowed admirers of 
mademoiselle de la Mole's haughty and impertinent manner. 
In his opinion she was one of the most beautiful persons in Paris. 

" How fine she would be on a throne," he said to M. de 
Croisenois; and made no demur at being taken up to Mathilde. 

There are a good number of people in society who would 
like to establish the fact that nothing is in such bad form as a 
conspiracy- in the nineteenth century; it smacks of Jaco- 
binism. And what could be more sordid than unsuccessful 

Mathilde's expression made fun a little of Altamira and 
M. de Croisenois, but she listened to him with pleasure. 

" A conspirator at a ball, what a pretty contrast," she thought. 
She thought that this man with his black moustache looked 
like a lion at rest, but she soon perceived that his mind had 
only one point of view : utility, admiration for utility. 

The young comte thought nothing worthy his attention 
except what tended to give his country two chamber govern- 
ment. He left Mathilde, who was the prettiest person at 
the ball, with alacrity, because he saw a Peruvian general 
come in. Desparing of Europe such as M. de Metternich 
had arranged it, poor Altamira had been reduced to thinking 
that when the States of South America had become strong 


and powerful they could restore to Europe the liberty which 
Mirabeau has given it. 

A crowd of moustachised young men had approached 
Mathilde. She realized that Altamira had not felt allured, 
and was piqued by his departure. She saw his black eye 
gleam as he talked to the Peruvian general. Mademoiselle 
de la Mole looked at the young Frenchmen with that 
profound seriousness which none of her arrivals could imitate, 
" which of them," she thought, " could get himself condemned 
to death, even supposing he had a favourable opportunity ? " 

This singular look flattered those who were not very 
intelligent, but disconcerted the others. They feared the 
discharge of some stinging epigram that would be difficult 
to answer. 

" Good birth vouchsafes a hundred qualities whose absence 
would offend me. I see as much in the case of Julien," thought 
Mathilde, " but it withers up those qualities of soul which make 
a man get condemned to death." 

At that moment some one was saying near her : " Comte 
Altamara is the second son of the Prince of San Nazaro- 
Pimentel; it was a Pimentel who tried to save Conradin, 
was beheaded in 1268. It is one of the noblest families in 

" So," said Mathilde to herself, " what a pretty proof this is 
of my maxim, that good birth deprives a man of that force of 
character in default of which a man does not get condemned 
to death. I seem doomed to reason falsely to-night. Since 
I am only a woman like any other, well I must dance." She 
yielded to the solicitations of M. de Croisenois who had been 
asking for a gallop for the last hour. To distract herself 
from her failure in philosophy, Mathilde made a point of 
being perfectly fascinating. M. de Croisenois was enchanted. 
But neither the dance nor her wish to please one of the 
handsomest men at court, nor anything at all, succeeded in 
distracting Mathilde. She could not possibly have been more 
of a success. She was the queen of the ball. She coldly 
appreciated the fact. 

"What a blank life I shall pass with a person like 
Croisenois," she said to herself as he took her back to her 
place an hour afterwards. " What pleasure do I get," she 
added sadly, " if after an absence of six months I find myself 


at a ball which all the women of Paris were mad with jealousy 
to go to ? And what is more I am surrounded by the homage 
of an ideally constituted circle of society. The only bourgeois 
are some peers and perhaps one or two Juliens. And yet," 
she added with increasing sadness, " what advantages has not 
fate bestowed upon me ! Distinction, fortune, youth, every- 
thing except happiness. My most dubious advantages are the 
very ones they have been speaking to me about all the'evening. 
Wit, I believe I have it, because I obviously frighten every- 
one. If they venture to tackle a serious subject, they will 
arrive after five minutes of conversation and as though they 
had made a great discovery at a conclusion which we have 
been repeating to them for the last hour. I am beautiful, I 
have that advantage for which madame de Stael would have 
sacrificed everything, and yet I'm dying of boredom. Shall I 
have reason to be less bored when I have changed my name 
for that of the marquis de Croisenois ? 

" My God though," she added, while she almost felt as if 
she would like to cry, " isn't he really quite perfect ? He's a 
paragon of the education of the age ; you can't look at him 
without his finding something charming and even witty to say 
to you; he is brave. But that Sorel is strange," she said 
to herself, and the expression of her eyes changed from 
melancholy to anger. " I told him that I had something to 
say to him and he hasn't deigned to reappear." 



The luxurious dresses, the glitter of the candles ; 
all those pretty arms and fine shoulders ; the bouquets, 
the intoxicating strains of Rossini, the paintings of 
Ciceri. I am beside myself. Journeys of Useri. 

" You are in a bad temper," said the marquise de la Mole to 
her ; " let me caution you, it is ungracious at a ball." 

" I only have a headache," answered Mathilde disdainfully, 
" it is too hot here." 

At this moment the old Baron Tolly became ill and fell 
down, as though to justify mademoiselle de la Mole's remark. 
They were obliged to carry him away. They talked about 
apoplexy. It was a disagreeable incident. 

Mathilde did not bother much about it. 

She made a point of never looking at old men, or at anyone 
who had the reputation of being bad company. 

She danced in order to escape the conversation about the 
apoplexy, which was not apoplexy inasmuch as the baron put 
in an appearance the following day. 

" But Sorel does not come," she said to herself after she 
had danced. She was almost looking round for him when 
she found him in another salon. Astonishing, but he seemed 
to have lost that impassive coldness that was so natural to 
him ; he no longer looked English. 

" He is talking to comte Altamira who was sentenced to 
death," said Mathilde to herself. " His eye is full of a sombre 
fire ; he looks like a prince in disguise ; his haughtiness has 
become twice as pronounced." 

Julien came back to where she was, still talking to Altamira. 
She looked at Altamira fixedly, studying his features in order 


to trace those lofty qualities which can earn a man the honour 
of being condemned to death. 

" Yes," he was saying to comte Altamira as he passed by 
her, " Danton was a real man." 

" Heavens can he be a Danton ? " said Mathilde to herself, 
" but he has so noble a face, and that Danton was so horribly 
ugly, a butcher I believe." Julien was still fairly near her. 
She did not hesitate to call him ; she had the consciousness 
and the pride of putting a question that was unusual for a 
young girl. 

" Was not Danton a butcher ? " she said to him. 
" Yes, in the eyes of certain persons," Julien answered her 
with the most thinly disguised expression of contempt. His 
eyes were still ardent from his conversation with Altamira, 
" but unfortunately for the people of good birth he was an 
advocate at Mery-sur-Seine, that is to say, mademoiselle," he 
added maliciously, " he began like many peers whom I see 
here. It was true that Danton laboured under a great dis- 
advantage in the eyes of beauty ; he was ugly." 

These last few words were spoken rapidly in an extra- 
ordinary and indeed very discourteous manner." 

Julien waited for a moment, leaning slightly forward and 
with an air of proud humility. He seemed to be saying, " I 
am paid to answer you and I live on my pay." He did not 
deign to look up at Mathilde. She looked like his slave with 
her fine eyes open abnormally wide and fixed on him. 
Finally as the silence continued he looked at her, like a 
valet looking at his master to receive orders. Although his 
eyes met the full gaze of Mathilde which were fixed on him all 
the time with a strange expression, he went away with a 
marked eagerness. 

" To think of a man who is as handsome as he is," said 
Mathilde to herself as she emerged from her reverie, " praising 
ugliness in such a way, he is not like Caylus or Croisenois. 
This Sorel has something like my father's look when he goes 
to a fancy dress ball as Napoleon." She had completely 
forgotten Danton. "Yes, I am decidedly bored tonight." 
She took her brother's arm and to his great disgust made him 
take her round the ball-room. The idea occurred to her of 
following the conversation between Julien and the man who 
had been condemned to death. 


The crowd was enormous. She managed to find them, 
however, at the moment when two yards in front of her 
Altamira was going near a dumb-waiter to take an ice. He 
was talking to Julien with his body half turned round. He 
saw an arm in an embroidered coat which was taking an ice 
close by. The embroidery seemed to attract his attention. 
He turned round to look at the person to whom the arm 
belonged. His noble and yet simple eyes immediately 
assumed a slightly disdainful expression. 

" You see that man," he said to Julien in a low voice ; 

" that is the Prince of Araceli Ambassador of He 

asked M. de Nerval, your Minister for Foreign Affairs, for my 
extradition this morning. See, there he is over there playing 
whist. Monsieur de Nerval is willing enough to give me up, 
for we gave up two or three conspirators to you in 18 16. If 
I am given up to my king I shall be hanged in twenty-four 
hours. It will be one of those handsome moustachioed 
gentlemen who will arrest me." 

" The wretches ! " exclaimed Julien half aloud. 

Mathilde did not lose a syllable of their conversation. Her 
ennui had vanished. 

" They are not scoundrels," replied Count Altamira. " I 
talk to you about myself in order to give you a vivid impression. 
Look at the Prince of Araceli. He casts his eyes on his 
golden fleece every five minutes ; he cannot get over the 
pleasure of seeing that decoration on his breast. In reality 
the poor man is really an anachronism. The fleece was a 
signal honour a hundred years ago, but he would have been 
nowhere near it in those days. But nowadays, so far as 
people of birth are concerned, you have to be an Araceli to 
be delighted with it. He had a whole town hanged in order 
to get it." 

"Is that the price he had to pay?" said Julien anxiously. 

" Not exactly," answered Altamira coldly, " he probably had 
about thirty rich landed proprietors in his district who had the 
reputation of being Liberals thrown into the river." 

" What a monster ! " pursued Julien. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole who was leaning her head forward 
with keenest interest was so near him that her beautiful hair 
almost touched his shoulder. 

" You are very young," answered Altamira. " I was telling 


you that I had a married sister in Provence. She is still 
pretty, good and gentle ; she is an excellent mother, performs 
all her duties faithfully, is pious but not a bigot." 

" What is he driving at ? " thought mademoiselle de la Mole. 

" She is happy," continued the comte Altamira ; " she was so 
in 1815. I was then in hiding at her house on her estate near 
d'Antibos. Well the moment she learnt of marshall Ney's 
execution she began to dance." 

" Is it possible ? " said Julien, thunderstruck. 

" It's party spirit," replied Altamira. " There are no longer 
any real passions in the nineteenth century : that's why one 
is so bored in France. People commit acts of the greatest 
cruelty, but without any feeling of cruelty." 

" So much the worse," said Julien, " when one does commit 
a crime one ought at least to take pleasure in committing it; 
that's the only good thing they have about them and that's the 
only way in which they have the slightest justification." 

Mademoiselle de la Mole had entirely forgotten what she 
owed to herself and placed herself completely between Altamira 
and Julien. Her brother, who was giving her his arm, and 
was accustomed to obey her, was looking at another part of 
the room, and in order to keep himself in countenance was 
pretending to be stopped by the crowd. 

"You are right," Altamira went on, "one takes pleasure in 
nothing one does, and one does not remember it : this applies 
even to crimes. I can show you perhaps ten men in this 
ballroom who have been convicted of murder. They have 
forgotten all about it and everybody else as well." 

" Many are moved to the point of tears if their dog breaks 
a paw. When you throw flowers on their grave at Pere-la- 
Chaise, as you say so humorously in Paris, we learn they 
united all the virtues of the knights of chivalry, and we speak 
about the noble feats of their great-grandfather who lived in the 
reign of Henri IV. If, in spite of the good offices of the 
Prince de Araceli, I escape hanging and I ever manage to enjoy 
the use of my money in Paris, I will get you to dine with 
eight or ten of these respected and callous murderers. 

" At that dinner you and I will be the only ones whose 
blood is pure, but I shall be despised and almost hated as a 
monster, while you will be simply despised as a man of the 
people who has pushed his way into good society." 


" Nothing could be truer," said mademoiselle de la Mole. 

Altamira looked at her in astonishment ; but Julien did not 
deign to look at her. 

" Observe that the revolution, at whose head I found 
myself," continued the comte Altamira, " only failed for the 
one reason that I would not cut off three heads and distribute 
among our partisans seven or eight millions which happened 
to be in a box of which I happened to have the key. My 
king, who is burning to have me hanged to-day, and who called 
me by my christian name before the rebellion, would have 
given me the great ribbon of his order if I had had those three 
heads cut off and had had the money in those boxes dis- 
tributed; for I should have had at least a semi-success and 

my country would have had a charta like So wags the 

world ; it's a game of chess." 

" At that time," answered Julien with a fiery eye, " you did 
not know the game ; now . . ." 

" You mean I would have the heads cut off, and I would 
not be a Girondin, as you said I was the other day ? I will 
give you your answer," said Altamira sadly, " when you have 
killed a man in a duel a far less ugly matter than having him 
put to death by an executioner." 

" Upon my word," said Julien, " the end justifies the means. 
If instead of being an insignificant man I had some power I 
would have three men hanged in order to save four men's 

His eyes expressed the fire of his own conscience ; they met 
the eyes of mademoiselle de la Mole who was close by him, 
and their contempt, so far from changing into politeness 
seemed to redouble. 

She was deeply shocked; but she found herself unable to 
forget Julien ; she dragged her brother away and went off in 
a temper. 

" I must take some punch and dance a lot," she said to 
herself. " I will pick out the best partner and cut some 
figure at any price. Good, there is that celebrated cynic, the 
comte de Fervaques." She accepted his invitation ; they 
danced. " The question is," she thought, " which of us two 
will be the more impertinent, but in order to make absolute 
fun of him, I must get him to talk." Soon all the other 
members of the quadrille were dancing as a matter of formality, 


they did not want to lose any of Mathilde's cutting reparte. 
M. de Fervaques felt uneasy and as he could only find elegant 
expressions instead of ideas, began to scowl. Mathilde, who 
was in a bad temper was cruel, and made an enemy of him. 
She danced till daylight and then went home terribly tired. 
But when she was in the carriage the little vitality she had left, 
was still employed in making her sad and unhappy. She had 
been despised by Julien and could not despise him. 

Julien was at the zenith of his happiness. He was enchanted 
without his knowing it by the music, the flowers, the pretty 
women, the general elegance, and above all by his own 
imagination which dreamt of distinctions for himself and of 
liberty for all. 

" What a fine ball," he said to the comte. " Nothing is 

" Thought is lacking " answered Altamira, and his face 
betrayed that contempt which is only more deadly from the 
very fact that a manifest effort is being made to hide it as a 
matter of politeness. 

" You are right, monsieur the comte, there isn't any thought 
at all, let alone enough to make a conspiracy." 

" I am here because of my name, but thought is hated in 
your salons. Thought must not soar above the level of the 
point of a Vaudeville couplet : it is then rewarded. But as 
for your man who thinks, if he shows energy and originality 
we call him a cynic. Was not that name given by one of your 
judges to Courier. You put him in prison as well as Berenger. 
The priestly congregation hands over to the police everyone 
who is worth anything amongst you individually; and good 
society applauds. 

" The fact is your effete society prizes conventionalism above 
everything else. You will never get beyond military bravery. 
You will have Murats, never Washingtons. I can see nothing 
in France except vanity. A man who goes on speaking on 
the spur of the moment may easily come to make an im- 
prudent witticism and the master of the house thinks himself 

As he was saying this, the carriage in which the comte was 
seeing Julien home stopped before the hdtel de la Mole. 
Julien was in love with his conspirator. Altamira had paid 
him this great compliment which was evidently the expression 


of a sound conviction. " You have not got the French 
flippancy and you understand the principle of utility." It 
happened that Julien had seen the day before Marino Faliero, 
a tragedy, by Casmir Delavigne. 

" Has not Israel Bertuccio got more character than all those 
noble Venetians ? " said our rebellious plebeian to himself, 
"and yet those are the people whose nobility goes back to 
the year seven hundred, a century before Charlemagne, while 
the cream of the nobility at M. de Ritz's ball to-night only 
goes back, and that rather lamely, to the thirteenth century. 
Well, in spite of all the noble Venetians whose birth makes 
so great, it is Israel Bertuccio whom one remembers. 

" A conspiracy annihilates all titles conferred by social 
caprice. There, a man takes for his crest the rank that is 
given him by the way in which he faces death. The intellect 
itself loses some of its power. 

" What would Danton have been to-day in this age of the 
Valenods and the Renals ? Not even a deputy for the 
Public Prosecutor. 

"What am I saying? He would have sold himself to 
the priests, he would have been a minister, for after all the 
great Danton did steal. Mirabeau also sold himself. 
Napoleon stole millions in Italy, otherwise he would have 
been stopped short in his career by poverty like Pichegru. 
Only La Fayette refrained from stealing. Ought one to steal, 
ought one to sell oneself?" thought Julien. This question 
pulled him up short. He passed the rest of the night in 
reading the history of the revolution. 

When he wrote his letters in the library the following day, 
his mind was still concentrated on his conversation with count 

"As a matter of fact," he said to himself after a long 
reverie, " If the Spanish Liberals had not injured their nation 
by crimes they would not have been cleared out as easily as 
they were. 

"They were haughty, talkative children just like I am!" 
he suddenly exclaimed as though waking up with a start. 

" What difficulty have I surmounted that entitles me to 
judge such devils who, once alive, dared to begin to act. I 
am like a man who exclaims at the close of a meal, ' I won't 
dine to-morrow; but that won't prevent me from feeling as 


strong and merry like I do to-day.' Who knows what one 
feels when one is half-way through a great action ? " 

These lofty thoughts were disturbed by the unexpected 
arrival in the library of mademoiselle de la Mole. He was 
so animated by his admiration for the great qualities of such 
invincibles as Danton, Mirabeau, and Carnot that, though he 
fixed his eyes on mademoiselle de la Mole, he neither gave 
her a thought nor bowed to her, and scarcely even saw her. 
When finally his big, open eyes realized her presence, their 
expression vanished. Mademoiselle de la Mole noticed it 
with bitterness. 

It was in vain that she asked him for Vely's History of 
France which was on the highest shelf, and thus necessitated 
Julien going to fetch the longer of the two ladders. Julien 
had brought the ladder and had fetched the volume and given 
it to her, but had not yet been able to give her a single thought. 
As he was taking the ladder back he hit in his hurry one of 
the glass panes in the library with his elbow ; the noise of the 
glass falling on the floor finally brought him to himself. He 
hastened to apologise to mademoiselle de la' Mole. He 
tried to be polite and was certainly nothing more. Mathilde 
saw clearly that she had disturbed him, and that he would 
have preferred to have gone on thinking about what he had 
been engrossed in before her arrival, to speaking to her. 
After looking at him for some time she went slowly away. 
Julien watched her walk. He enjoyed the contrast of her 
present dress with the elegant magnificence of the previous 
night. The difference between the two expressions was 
equally striking. The young girl who had been so haughty at 
the Duke de Retz's ball, had, at the present moment, an 
almost plaintive expression. " As a matter of fact," said 
Julien to himself, " that black dress makes the beauty of her 
figure all the more striking. She has a queenly carriage ; 
but why is she in mourning ? " 

" If I ask someone the reason for this mourning, they will 
think I am putting my foot in it again." Julien had now quite 
emerged from the depth of his enthusiasm. " I must read over 
again all the letters I have written this morning. God knows 
how many missed out words and blunders I shall find. As 
he was forcing himself to concentrate his mind on the first 
of these letters he heard the rustle of a silk dress near him. 


He suddenly turned round, mademoiselle de la Mole was two 
yards from his table, she was smiling. This second 
interruption put Julien into a bad temper. Mathilde had 
just fully realized that she meant nothing to this young man. 
Her smile was intended to hide her embarrassment; she 
succeeded in doing so. 

" You are evidently thinking of something very interesting, 
Monsieur Sorel. Is it not some curious anecdote about that 
conspiracy which is responsible for comte Altamira being in 
Paris ? Tell me what it is about, I am burning to know. I 
will be discreet, I swear it." She was astonished at hearing 
herself utter these words. What ! was she asking a favour of 
an inferior ! Her embarrassment increased, and she added 
with a little touch of flippancy, 

"What has managed to turn such a usually cold person 
as yourself, into an inspired being, a kind of Michael Angelo 
prophet ? " 

This sharp and indiscreet question wounded Julien deeply, 
and rendered him madder than ever. 

" Was Danton right in stealing ? " he said to her brusquely 
in a manner that grew more and more surly. "Ought the 
revolutionaries of Piedmont and of Spain to have injured the 
people by crimes ? To have given all the places in the army 
and all the orders to undeserving persons ? Would not the 
persons who wore these orders have feared the return of the 
king ? Ought they to have allowed the treasure of Turin to 
be looted ? In a word, mademoiselle," he said, coming near 
her with a terrifying expression, " ought the man who wishes 
to chase ignorance and crime from the world to pass like the 
whirlwind and do evil indiscriminately ? " 

Mathilde felt frightened, was unable to stand his look, and 
retreated a couples of paces. She looked at him a moment, 
and then ashamed of her own fear, left the library with a light 




Love ! In what madness do you not manage to make us find pleasure ! 

Letters of a Portuguese Nun. 

Julien reread his letters. " How ridiculous I must have 
appeared in the eyes of that Parisian doll," he said to himself 
when the dinner-bell rang. " How foolish to have really told 
her what I was thinking ! Perhaps it was not so foolish. 
Telling the truth on that occasion was worthy of me. Why did 
she come to question me on personal matters ? That 
question was indiscreet on her part. She broke the convention. 
My thoughts about Danton are not part of the sacrifice 
which her father pays me to make." 

When he came into the dining-room Julien's thoughts were 
distracted from his bad temper by mademoiselle de la Mole's 
mourning which was all the more striking because none of the 
other members of the family were in black. 

After dinner he felt completely rid of the feeling which had 
obsessed him all day. Fortunately the academician who 
knew Latin was at dinner. "That's the man who will make 
the least fun of me," said Julien to himself, " if, as I surmise, my 
question about mademoiselle de la Mole's mourning is in bad 

Mathilde was looking at him with a singular expression. 
" So this is the coquetry of the women of this part of the 
country, just as madame de Renal described it to me," said 
Julien to himself. " I was not nice to her this morning. I did 
not humour her caprice of talking to me. I got up in value 
in her eyes. The Devil doubtless is no loser by it. 

" Later on her haughty disdain will manage to revenge her- 
self. I defy her to do her worst. What a contrast with what 


I have lost ! What charming naturalness ? What naivety ! 
I used to know her thoughts before she did herself. I used 
to see them come into existence. The only rival she had in 
her heart was the fear of her childrens' death. It was a reason- 
able, natural feeling to me, and even though I suffered from it 
I found it charming. I have been a fool. The ideas I had 
in my head about Paris prevented me from appreciating that 
sublime woman. 

" Great God what a contrast and what do I find here ? Arid, 
haughty vanity : all the fine shades of wounded egotism and 
nothing more." 

They got up from table. " I must not let my academician 
get snapped up," said Julien to himself. He went up to him 
as they were passing into the garden, assumed an air of soft 
submissiveness and shared in his fury against the success of 

" If only we were still in the days of lettres de cachet ! " he 

" Then he would not have dared," exclaimed the academician 
with a gesture worthy of Talma. 

Julien quoted some words from Virgil's Georgics in reference 
to a flower and expressed the opinion that nothing was equal 
to the abbe Delille's verses. In a word he flattered the 
academician in every possible way. He then said to him with 
the utmost indifference. " I suppose mademoiselle de la Mole 
has inherited something from some uncle for whom she is in 

" What ! you belong to the house ? " said the academician 
stopping short, " and you do not know her folly ? As a 
matter of fact it is strange her mother should allow her to do 
such things, but between ourselves, they do not shine in this 
household exactly by their force of character. Mademoiselle's 
share has to do for all of them, and governs them. To-day is 
the thirtieth of April ! " and the academician stopped and looked 
meaningly at Julien. Julien smiled with the most knowing 
expression he could master. " What connection can there be 
between ruling a household, wearing a black dress, and the 
thirtieth April?" he said to himself. " I must be even sillier 
.han I thought." 

" I must confess . . ." he said to the academician while he 
ontinued to question hi m with his look. " Let us take a turn 


round the garden," said the academician deilghted at seeing 
an opportunity of telling a long and well-turned story. 

" What ! is it really possible you do not know what happened 
on the 30th April, 1574 ?" 

" And where ? " said Julien in astonishment. 

" At the place de Greve." 

Julien was extremely astonished that these words did not 
supply him with the key. His curiosity and his expectation 
of a tragic interest which would be in such harmony with his 
own character gave his eyes that brilliance which the teller of 
a story likes to see so much in the person who is listening to 
him. The academician was delighted at finding a virgin ear, 
and narrated at length to Julien how Boniface de la Mole, the 
handsomest young man of this century together with Annibal 
de Coconasso, his friend, a gentleman of Piedmont, had been 
beheaded on the 30th April, 1574. La Mole was the adored 
lover of Queen Marguerite of Navarre and " observe," con- 
tinued the academician, " that mademoiselle de La Mole's full 
name is Mathilde Marguerite. La Mole was at the same time 
a favourite of the Duke d'Alencon and the intimate friend of 
his mistress's husband, the King of Navarre, subsequently Henri 
IV. On Shrove Tuesday of that year 1574, the court happened 
to be at St. Germain with the poor king Charles IX. who was 
dying. La Mole wished to rescue his friends the princes, 
whom Queen Catherine of Medici was keeping prisoner in her 
Court. He advanced two hundred cavalry under the walls of 
St. Germain; the Duke d'Alencon was frightened and La 
Mole was thrown to the executioner. 

" But the thing which affects mademoiselle Mathilde, and 
what she has admitted to me herself seven or eight years ago 
when she was twelve, is a head ! a head ! and the acade- 
mician lifted up his eyes to the heavens. What struck her in 
this political catastrophe, was the hiding of Queen Marguerite 
de Navarre in a house in the place de Greve and her then 
asking for her lover's head. At midnight on the following day 
she took that head in her carriage and went and buried it her- 
self in a chapel at the foot of the hill at Montmartre." 

" Impossible? " cried Julien really moved. 

" Mademoiselle Mathilde despises her brother because, as you 
see, he does not bother one whit about this ancient history, 
and never wears mourning on the thirtieth of April. It is since 


the time of this celebrated execution and in order to recall the 
intimate friendship of La Mole for the said Coconasso, who 
Italian that he was, bore the name of Annibal that all the men 
of that family bear that name. And," added the academician 
lowering his voice, " this Coconasso was, according to Charles 
IX. himself, one of the cruellest assassins of the twenty-fourth 
August, 1572. But how is it possible, my dear Sorel, that you 
should be ignorant of these things you who take your meals 
with the family." 

" So that is why mademoiselle de la Mole twice called her 
brother Annibal at dinner. I thought I had heard wrong." 

" It was a reproach. It is strange that the marquise should 
allow such follies. The husband of that great girl will have a 
fine time of it." 

This remark was followed by five or six satiric phrases. 
Julien was shocked by the joy which shone in the academician's 
eyes. " We are just a couple of servants," he thought, 
" engaged in talking scandal about our masters. But I ought 
not to be astonished at anything this academy man does." 

Julien had surprised him on his knees one day before the 
marquise de la Mole ; he was asking her for a tobacco receiver- 
ship for a nephew in the provinces. In the evening a little 
chambermaid of mademoiselle de la Mole, who was paying 
court to Julien, just as Elisa had used to do, gave him to 
understand that her mistress's mourning was very far from 
being worn simply to attract attention. This eccentricity was 
rooted in her character. She really loved that la Mole, the 
beloved lover of the most witty queen of the century, who had 
died through trying to set his friends at liberty and what 
friends ! The first prince of the blood and Henri IV. 

Accustomed as he had been to the perfect naturalness 
which shone throughout madame de Renal's whole demeanour, 
Julien could not help finding all the women of Paris affected, 
and, though by no means of a morose disposition, found 
nothing to say to them. Mademoiselle de la Mole was an 

He now began to cease taking for coldness of heart that 
kind of beauty which attaches importance to a noble bearing. 
He had long conversations with mademoiselle de la Mole, 
who would sometimes walk with him in the garden after 
dinner. She told him one day that she was reading the 


History of D'Aubigne and also Brantome. " Strange books 
to read," thought Julien ; " and the marquis does not allow 
her to read Walter Scott's novels ! " 

She told him one day, with that pleased brilliancy in her 
eyes, which is the real test of genuine admiration, about a 
characteristic act of a young woman of the reign of Henry III., 
which she had just read in the memoirs of L'Etoile. Finding 
her husband unfaithful she stabbed him. 

Julien's vanity was flattered. A person who was surrounded 
by so much homage, and who governed the whole house, 
according to the academician, deigned to talk to him on a 
footing almost resembling friendship. 

" I made a mistake,'' thought Julien soon afterwards. 
"This is not familiarity, I am simply the confidante of a 
tragedy, she needs to speak to someone. I pass in this family 
for a man of learning. I will go and read Brantome, 
D'Aubigne, L'Etoile. I shall then be able to challenge some 
of the anecdotes which madame de la Mole speaks to me 
about. I want to leave off this role of the passive .confidante." 

His conversations with this young girl, whose demeanour 
was so impressive and yet so easy, gradually became more 
interesting. He forgot his grim role of the rebel plebian. 
He found her well-informed and even logical. Her opinions 
in the gardens were very different to those which she owned 
to in the salon. Sometimes she exhibited an enthusiasm and 
a frankness which were in absolute contrast to her usual cold 

" The wars of the League were the heroic days of France," 
she said to him one day, with eyes shining with enthusiasm. 
" Then everyone fought to gain something which he desired, for 
the sake of his party's triumph, and not just in order to win a 
cross as in the days of your emperor. Admit that there was 
then less egotism and less pettiness. I love that century." 

"And Boniface de la Mole was the hero of it," he said to 

" At least he was loved in a way that it is perhaps sweet to 
be loved. What woman alive now would not be horrified at 
touching the head of her decapitated lover ? " 

Madame de la Mole called her daughter. To be effective 
hypocrisy ought to hide itself, yet Julien had half confided his 
admiration for Napoleon to mademoiselle de la Mole. 


Julien remained alone in the garden. " That is the immense 
advantage they have over us," he said to himself. "Their 
ancestors lift them above vulgar sentiments, and they have not 
got always to be thinking about their subsistence ! What 
misery," he added bitterly. " I am not worthy to discuss 
these great matters. My life is nothing more than a series of 
hypocrisies because I have not got a thousand francs a year 
with which to buy my bread and butter." 

Mathilde came running back. "What are you dreaming 
about, monsieur ? " she said to him. 

Julien was tired of despising himself. Through sheer pride 
he frankly told her his thoughts. He blushed a great deal 
while talking to such a person about his own poverty. He 
tried to make it as plain as he could that he was not asking 
for anything. Mathilde never thought him so handsome ; she 
detected in him an expression of frankness and sensitiveness 
which he often lacked. 

Within a month of this episode Julien was pensively walking 
in the garden of the hotel ; but his face had no longer the 
hardness and philosophic superciliousness which the chronic 
consciousness of his inferior position had used to write upon 
it. He had just escorted mademoiselle de la Mole to the 
door of the salon. She said she had hurt her foot while running 
with her brother. 

" She leaned on my arm in a very singular way," said 
Julien to himself. " Am I a coxcomb, or is it true that she 
has taken a fancy to me ? She listens to me so gently, even 
when I confess to her all the sufferings of my pride ! She too, 
who is so haughty to everyone ! They would be very 
astonished in the salon if they saw that expression of hers. 
It is quite certain that she does not show anyone else such 
sweetness and goodness." 

Julien endeavoured not to exaggerate this singular friend- 
ship. He himself compared it to an armed truce. When 
they met again each day, they almost seemed before they 
took up the almost intimate tone of the previous day to ask 
themselves " are we going to be friends or enemies to-day ? " 
Julien had realised that to allow himself to be insulted with 
impunity even once by this haughty girl would mean the loss 
of everything. " If I have got to quarrel would it not be 
better that it should be straight away in defending the rights 


of my own pride, than in parrying the expressions of contempt 
which would follow the slightest abandonment of my duty 
to my own self-respect ? " 

On many occasions, on days when she was in a bad temper 
Mathilde, tried to play the great lady with him. These 
attempts were extremely subtle, but Julien rebuffed them 

One day he brusquely interrupted her. " Has mademoiselle 
de la Mole any orders to give her father's secretary ? " he said 
to her. " If so he must listen to her orders, and execute 
them, but apart from that he has not a single word to say to 
her. He is not paid to tell her his thoughts." 

This kind of life, together with the singular surmises which 
it occasioned, dissipated the boredom which he had been 
accustomed to experience in that magnificent salon, where 
everyone was afraid, and where any kind of jest was in bad 

" It would be humorous if she loved me but whether she 
loves me or not," went on Julien, " I have for my confidential 
friend a girl of spirit before whom I see the whole household 
quake, while the marquis de Croisenois does so more than 
anyone else. Yes, to be sure, that same young man who is 
so polite, so gentle, and so brave, and who has combined all 
those advantages of birth and fortune a single one of which 
would put my heart at rest he is madly in love with her, 
he ought to marry her. How many letters has M. de la Mole 
made me write to the two notaries in order to arrange the 
contract ? And I, though I am an absolute inferior when I 
have my pen in my hand, why, I triumph over that young 
man two hours afterwards in this very garden ; for, after all, 
her preference is striking and direct. Perhaps she hates him 
because she sees in him a future husband. She is haughty 
enough for that. As for her kindness to me, I receive it in 
my capacity of confidential servant. 

" But no, I am either mad or she is making advances to me ; 
the colder and more respectful I show myself to her, the more 
she runs after me. It may be a deliberate piece of affectation ; 
but I see her eyes become animated when I appear unex- 
pectedly. Can the women of Paris manage to act to such an 
extent. What does it matter to me ! I have appearances in 
my favour, let us enjoy appearances. Heavens, how beautiful 


she is ! How I like her great blue eyes when I see them at 
close quarters, and they look at me in the way they often do ? 
What a difference between this spring and that of last year, 
when I lived an unhappy life among three hundred dirty 
malicious hypocrites, and only kept myself afloat through 
sheer force of character, I was almost as malicious as they 

" That young girl is making fun of me," Julien would think 
in his suspicious days. "She is acting in concert with her 
brother to make a fool of me. But she seems to have an 
absolute contempt for her brother's lack of energy. He is 
brave and that is all. He has not a thought which dares to 
deviate from the conventional. It is always I who have to 
take up the cudgels in his defence. A young girl of nineteen ! 
Can one at that age act up faithfully every second of the day 
to the part which one has determined to play. On the other 
hand whenever mademoiselle de la Mole fixes her eyes on me 
with a singular expression comte Norbert always goes away. 
I think that suspicious. Ought he not to be indignant at his 
sister singling out a servant of her household ? For that is 
how I heard the Duke de Chaulnes speak about me. This 
recollection caused anger to supersede every other emotion. 
It is simply a fashion for old fashioned phraseology on the 
part of the eccentric duke ? " 

" Well, she is pretty ! " continued Julien with a tigerish ex- 
pression, " I will have her, I will then go away, and woe to 
him who disturbs me in my flight." 

This idea became Julien's sole preoccupation. He could 
not think of anything else. His days passed like hours. 

Every moment when he tried to concentrate on some 
important matter his mind became a blank, and he would 
wake up a quarter of an hour afterwards with a beating heart 
and an anxious mind, brooding over this idea "does she 
love me ? " 



I admire her beauty but I fear her intellect. Merimie. 

If Julien had employed the time which he spent in exaggerat- 
ing Matilde's beauty or in working himself up into a rage against 
that family haughtiness which she was forgetting for his sake 
in examining what was going on in the salon, he would have 
understood the secret of her dominion over all that surrounded 

When anyone displeased mademoiselle de La Mole she 
managed to punish the offender by a jest which was so guarded, 
so well chosen, so polite and so neatly timed, that the more 
the victim thought about it, the sorer grew the wound. She 
gradually became positively terrible to wounded vanity. As 
she attached no value to many things which the rest of her 
family very seriously wanted, she always struck them as self- 
possessed. The salons of the aristocracy are nice enough to 
brag about when you leave them, but that is all ; mere polite- 
ness alone only counts for something in its own right during 
the first few days. Julien experienced this after the first 
fascination and the first astonishment had passed off. " Polite- 
ness," he said to himself " is nothing but the absence of that 
bad temper which would be occasioned by bad manners." 
Mathilde was frequently bored ; perhaps she would have been 
bored anywhere. She then found a real distraction and real 
pleasure in sharpening an epigram. 

It was perhaps in order to have more amusing victims than her 
great relations, the academician and the five or six other men 
of inferior class who paid her court, that she had given en- 
couragement to the marquis de Croisenois, the comte Caylus 


and two or three other young men of the highest rank. They 
simply represented new subjects for epigrams. 

We will admit with reluctance, for we are fond of Mathilde, 
that she had received many letters from several of them and 
had sometimes answered them. We hasten to add that this 
person constitutes an exception to the manners of the century. 
Lack of prudence is not generally the fault with which the 
pupils of the noble convent of the Sacred Heart can be 

One day the marquis de Croisenois returned to Mathilde a 
fairly compromising letter which she had written the previous 
night. He thought that he was thereby advancing his cause 
a great deal by taking this highly prudent step. But the very 
imprudence of her correspondence was the very element in it 
Mathilde liked. Her pleasure was to stake her fate. She did 
not speak to him again for six weeks. 

She amused herself with the letters of these young men, 
but in her view they were all like each other. It was invari- 
ably a case of the most profound, the most melancholy, 

"They all represent the same perfect man, ready to leave 
for Palestine," she exclaimed to her cousin. " Can you con- 
ceive of anything more insipid ? So these are the letters I am 
going to receive all my life ! There can only be a change 
every twenty years according to the kind of vogue which 
happens to be fashionable. They must have had more 
colour in them in the days of the Empire. In those days all 
these young society men had seen or accomplished feats which 

really had an element of greatness. The Duke of N my 

uncle was at Wagram." 

" What brains do you need to deal a sabre blow ? And 
when they have had the luck to do that they talk of it 
so often ! " said mademoiselle de Sainte-Heredite, Mathilde's 

" Well, those tales give me pleasure. Being in a real battle, 
a battle of Napoleon, where six thousand soldiers were killed, 
why, that's proof of courage. Exposing one's self to danger 
elevates the soul and saves it from the boredom in which my 
poor admirers seem to be sunk ; and that boredom is contagious. 
Which of them ever thought of doing anything extraordinary ? 
They are trying to win my hand, a pretty business to be sure ! 


I am rich and my father will procure advancement for his son- 
in-law. Well ! I hope he'll manage to find someone who is a 
little bit amusing." 

Mathilde's keen, sharp and picturesque view of life spoilt her 
language as one sees. An expression of hers would often 
constitute a blemish in the eyes of her polished friends. If 
she had been less fashionable they would almost have owned 
that her manner of speaking was, from the standpoint of 
feminine delicacy, to some extent unduly coloured. 

She, on her side, was very unjust towards the handsome 
cavaliers who fill the Bois de Boulogne. She envisaged the 
future not with terror, that would have been a vivid emotion, 
but with a disgust which was very rare at her age. 

What could she desire ? Fortune, good birth, wit, beauty, 
according to what the world said, and according to what she 
believed, all these things had been lavished upon her by the 
hands of chance. 

So this was the state of mind of the most envied heiress 
of the faubourg Saint-Germain when she began to find 
pleasure in walking with Julien. She was astonished at his 
pride ; she admired the ability of the little bourgeois. " He 
will manage to get made a bishop like the abbe Mouray," she 
said to herself. 

Soon the sincere and unaffected opposition with which our 
hero received several of her ideas filled her mind ; she con- 
tinued to think about it, she told her friend the slightest 
details of the conversation, but thought that she would never 
succeed in fully rendering all their meaning. 

An idea suddenly flashed across her ; " I have the happi- 
ness of loving," she said to herself one day with an incredible 
ecstasy of joy. " I am in love, I am in love, it is clear ! 
Where can a young, witty and beautiful girl of my own age 
find sensations if not in love ? It is no good. I shall never 
feel any love for Croisenois, Caylus, and tutti quanti. They 
are unimpeachable, perhaps too unimpeachable ; any way they 
bore me." 

She rehearsed in her mind all the descriptions of passion 
which she had read in Manon Lescaut, the Nouvclle Heloise, 
the Letters of a Portuguese Nun, etc., etc. It was only a 
question of course of the grand passion; light love was un- 
worthy of a girl of her age and birth. She vouchsafed the 


name of love to that heroic sentiment which was met with in 
France in the time of Henri III. and Bassompierre. That 
love did not basely yield to obstacles, but, far from it, inspired 
great deeds. " How unfortunate for me that there is not a 
real court like that of Catherine de Medicis or of Louis XIII. 
I feel equal to the boldest and greatest actions. What would 
I not make of a king who was a man of spirit like Louis XIII. 
if he were sighing at my feet ! I would take him to the 
Vendee, as the Baron de Tolly is so fend of saying, and 
from that base he would re-conquer his kingdom ; then no 
more about a charter and Julien would help me. What 
does he lack ? name and fortune. He will make a name, 
he will win a fortune. 

" Croisenois lacks nothing, and he will never be anything 
else all his life but a duke who is half ' ultra ' and half 
Liberal, an undecided being who never goes to extremes and 
consequently always plays second fiddle. 

" What great action is not an extreme at the moment when 
it is undertaken ? It is only after accomplishment that it 
seems possible to commonplace individuals. Yes, it is love 
with all its miracles which is going to reign over my heart ; I 
feel as much from the fire which is thrilling me. Heaven 
owed me this boon. It will not then have lavished in vain 
all its bounties on one single person. My happiness will be 
worthy of me. Each day will no longer be the cold replica 
of the day before. There is grandeur and audacity in the 
very fact of daring to love a man, placed so far beneath me 
by his social position. Let us see what happens, will he 
continue to deserve me? I will abandon him at the first 
sign of weakness which I detect. A girl of my birth and of 
that mediaeval temperament which they are good enough to 
ascribe to me (she was quoting from her father) must not 
behave like a fool. 

" But should I not be behaving like a fool if I were to love 
the marquis de Croisenois? I should simply have a new 
edition over again of that happiness enjoyed by my girl 
cousins which I so utterly despise. I already know everything 
the poor marquis would say to me and every answer I should 
make. What's the good of a love which makes one yawn ? 
One might as well be in a nunnery. I shall have a celebration 
of the signing of a contract just like my younger cousin 


when the grandparents all break down, provided of course 
that they are not annoyed by some condition introduced 
into the contract at the eleventh hour by the notary on the 
other side." 



The need of anxiety. These words summed up the character 
of my aunt, the beautiful Marguerite de Valois, who was soon to 
marry the King of Navarre whom we see reigning at present in 
France under the name of Henry IV. The need of staking some- 
thing was the key to the character of this charming princess ; 
hence her quarrels and reconciliations with her brothers from 
the time when she was sixteen. Now, what can a young girl 
stake ? The most precious thing she has : her reputation, the 
esteem of a lifetime. 

Memoirs of the Duke d? Angouleme. 
the natural son of Charles IX. 

"There is no contract to sign for Julien and me, there is 
no notary; everything is on the heroic plane, everything is 
the child of chance. Apart from the noble birth which he 
lacks, it is the love of Marguerite de Valois for the young La 
Mole, the most distinguished man of the time, over again. 
Is it my fault that the young men of the court are such great 
advocates of the conventional, and turn pale at the mere idea 
of the slightest adventure which is a little out of the ordinary ? 
A little journey in Greece or Africa represents the highest 
pitch of their audacity, and moreover they can only march in 
troops. As soon as they find themselves alone they are 
frightened, not of the Bedouin's lance, but of ridicule and that 
fear makes them mad. 

" My little Julien on the other hand only likes to act alone. 
This unique person never thinks for a minute of seeking 
help or support in others ! He despises others, and that is 
why I do not despise him. 

" If Julien were noble as well as poor, my love would simply 
be a vulgar piece of stupidity, a sheer mesalliance; I would 
have nothing to do with it ; it would be absolutely devoid 
of the characteristic traits of grand passion the immensity 


of the difficulty to be overcome and the black uncertainty cf 
the result." 

Mademoiselle de la Mole was so engrossed in these pretty 
arguments that without realising what she was doing, she 
praised Julien to the marquis de Croisenois and her brother 
on the following day. Her eloquence went so far that it 
provoked them. 

" You be careful of this young man who has so much 
energy," exclaimed her brother ; " if we have another revolu- 
tion he will have us all guillotined." 

She was careful not to answer, but hastened to rally her 
brother and the marquis de Croisenois on the apprehension 
which energy caused them. " It is at bottom simply the fear 
of meeting the unexpected, the fear of being non-plussed in 
the presence of the unexpected " 

"Always, always, gentlemen, the fear of ridicule, a monster 
which had the misfortune to die in 1816." 

" Ridicule has ceased to exist in a country where there are 
two parties," M. de la Mole was fond of saying, 

His daughter had understood the idea. 

"So, gentlemen," she would say to Julien's enemies, "you 
will be frightened all your life and you will be told afterwards, 
Ce littait pas un loup, ce rCen etait que F ombre." 

Matilde soon left them. Her brother's words horrified her; 
they occasioned her much anxiety, but the day afterwards she 
regarded them as tantamount to the highest praise. 

" His energy frightens them in this age where all energy is 
dead. I will tell him my brother's phrase. I want to see 
what answer he will make. But I will choose one of the 
moments when his eyes are shining. Then he will not be 
able to lie to me. 

" He must be a Danton ! she added after a long and 
vague reverie. Well, suppose the revolution begins again, 
what figures will Croisenois and my brother cut then ? It is 
settled in advance : Sublime resignation. They will be 
heroic sheep who will allow their throats to be cut without 
saying a word. Their one fear when they die will still be 
the fear of being bad form. If a Jacobin came to arrest my 
little Julien he would blow his brains out, however small a 
chance he had of escaping. He is not frightened of doing 
anything in bad form." 


These last words made her pensive ; they recalled painful 
memories and deprived her of all her boldness. These words 
reminded her of the jests of MM. de Caylus, Croisenois, de 
Luz and her brother; these gentlemen joined in censuring 
Julien for his priestly demeanour, which they said was humble 
and hypocritical. 

" But," she went on suddenly with her eyes gleaming with 
joy, " the very bitterness and the very frequency of their jests 
prove in spite of themselves that he is the most distinguished 
man whom we have seen this winter. What matter his defects 
and the things which they make fun of? He has the element 
of greatness and they are shocked by it. Yes, they, the very 
men who are so good and so charitable in other matters. 
It is a fact that he is poor and that he has studied in order to 
be a priest ; they are the heads of a squadron and never had 
any need of studying ; they found it less trouble. 

" In spite of all the handicap of his everlasting black suit and 
of that priestly expression which he must wear, poor boy, if he 
isn't to die of hunger, his merit frightens them, nothing could 
be clearer. And as for that priest-like expression, why he no 
longer has it after we have been alone for some moments, 
and after those gentlemen have evolved what they imagine 
to be a subtle and impromptu epigram, is not their 
first look towards Julien ? I have often noticed it. And yet 
they know well that he never speaks to them unless he is 
questioned. I am the only one whom he speaks to. He thinks 
I have a lofty soul. He only answers the points they raise 
sufficiently to be polite. He immediately reverts into respect- 
fulness. But with me he will discuss things for whole hours, 
he is not certain of his ideas so long as I find the slightest 
objection to them. There has not been a single rifle-shot 
fired all this winter ; words have been the only means of 
attracting attention. Well, my father, who is a superior man 
and will carry the fortunes of our house very far, respects 
Julien. Every one else hates him, no one despises him 
except my mother's devout friends." 

The Comte de Caylus had or pretended to have a great 
passion for horses ; he passed his life in his stables and often 
breakfasted there. This great passion, together with his habit 
of never laughing, won for him much respect among his friends : 
he was the eagle of the little circle. 



As soon as they had reassembled the following day behind 
madame de la Mole's armchair, M. de Caylus, supported by 
Croisenois and by Norbert, began in Julien's absence to 
attack sharply the high opinion which Mathilde entertained 
for Julien. He did this without any provocation, and almost 
the very minute that he caught sight of mademeiselle de la 
Mole. She tumbled to the subtlety immediately and was 
delighted with it. 

" So there they are all leagued together," she said to 
herself, " against a man of genius who has not ten louis a year 
to bless himself with and who cannot answer them except in 
so far as he is questioned. They are frightened of him, black 
coat and all. But how would things stand if he had epaulettes ? " 
She had never been more brilliant, hardly had Caylus and 
his allies opened their attack than she riddled them with 
sarcastic jests. When the fire of these brilliant officers was 
at length extinguished she said to M. de Caylus. 

" Suppose that some gentleman in the Franche-Comte 
mountains finds out to-morrow that Julien is his natural son 
and gives him a name and some thousands of francs, why in 
six months he will be an officer of hussars like you, gentlemen, 
in six weeks he will have moustaches like you gentlemen. 
And then his greatness of character will no longer be an object 
of ridicule. I shall then see you reduced, monsieur the 
future duke, to this stale and bad argument, the superiority 
of the court nobility over the provincial nobility. But where 
will you be if I choose to push you to extremities and am 
mischievous enough to make Julien's father a Spanish duke, 
who was a prisoner of war at Besancon in the time of Napoleon, 
and who out of conscientious scruples acknowledges him on 
his death bed ? " MM. de Caylus, and de Croisenois found all 
these assumptions of illegitimacy in rather bad taste. That 
was all they saw in Mathilde's reasoning. 

His sister's words were so clear that Norbert, in spite of his 
submissiveness, assumed a solemn air, which one must admit 
did not harmonise very well with his amiable, smiling face. 
He ventured to say a few words. 

" Are you ill ? my dear," answered Mathilde with a little 
air of seriousness. " You must be very bad to answer jests 
by moralizing." 

" Moralizing from you ! Are you soliciting a job as prefect ? " 


Mathilde soon forgot the irritation of the comte de Caylus, 
the bad temper of Norbert, and the taciturn despair of M. de 
Croisenois. She had to decide one way or the other a fatal 
question which had just seized upon her soul. 

"Julien is sincere enough with me," she said to herself, 
* a man at his age, in a inferior position, and rendered unhappy 
as he is by an extraordinary ambition, must have need of a 
woman friend. I am perhaps that friend, but I see no sign 
of love in him. Taking into account the audacity of his 
character he would surely have spoken to me about his love." 

This uncertainty and this discussion with herself which 
henceforth monopolised Mathilde's time, and in connection 
with which she found new arguments each time that Julien 
spoke to her, completely routed those fits of boredom to 
which she had been so liable. 

Daughter as she was of a man of intellect who might 
become a minister, mademoiselle de la Mole had been when 
in the convent of the Sacred Heart, the object of the most 
excessive flattery. This misfortune can never be compensated 
for. She had been persuaded that by reason of all her 
advantages of birth, fortune, etc., she ought to be happier than 
any one else. This is the cause of the boredom of princes 
and of all their follies. 

Mathilde had not escaped the deadly influence of this idea. 
However intelligent one may be, one cannot at the age of 
ten be on one's guard against the flatteries of a whole convent, 
which are apparently so well founded. 

From the moment that she had decided that she loved 
Julien, she was no longer bored. She congratulated herself 
every day on having deliberately decided to indulge in 
a grand passion. "This amusement is very dangerous," 
she thought. " All the better, all the better, a thousand times. 
Without a grand passion I should be languishing in boredom 
during the finest time of my life, the years from sixteen to 
twenty. I have already wasted my finest years : all my pleasure 
consisted in being obliged to listen to the silly arguments of 
my mother's friends who when at Coblentz in 1792 were not 
quite so strict, so they say, as their words of to-day." 

It was while Mathilde was a prey to these great fits of 
uncertainly that Julien was baffled by those long looks of 
hers which lingered upon him. He noticed, no doubt, an 


increased frigidity in the manner of comte Norbert, and a 
fresh touch of haughtiness in the manner of MM. de Caylus, de 
Luz and de Croisenois. He was accustomed to that. He 
would sometimes be their victim in this way at the end 
of an evening when, in view of the position he occupied, he 
had been unduly brilliant. Had it not been for the especial 
welcome with which Mathilde would greet him, and the 
curiosity with which all this society inspired him, he would 
have avoided following these brilliant moustachioed young 
men into the garden, when they accompained madamoiselle 
de La Mole there, in the hour after dinner. 

" Yes," Julien would say to himself, " it is impossible for 
me to deceive myself, mademoiselle de la Mole looks at me 
in a very singular way. But even when her fine blue open 
eyes are fixed on me, wide open with the most abandon, I 
always detect behind them an element of scrutiny, self- 
possession and malice. Is it possible that this may be love ? 
But how different to madame de Renal's looks ! " 

One evening after dinner Julien, who had followed M. de 
La Mole into his study, was rapidly walking back to the 
garden. He approached Mathilde's circle without any warning, 
and caught some words pronounced in a very loud voice- 
She was teasing her brother. Julien heard his name distinctly 
pronounced twice. He appeared. There was immediately a 
profound silence and abortive efforts were made to dissipate - 
it. Mademoiselle de La Mole and her brother were toe 
animated to find another topic of conversation. MM. de 
Caylus, de Croisenois, de Luz, and one of their friends, mani- 
fested an icy coldness to Julien. He went away. 



Disconnected remarks, casual meetings, become transformed in 
the eyes of an imaginative man into the most convincing proofs, 
if he has any fire in his temperament. Schiller. 

The following day he again caught Norbert and his sister 
talking about him. A funereal silence was established on his 
arrival as on the previous day. His suspicions were now un- 
bounded. " Can these charming young people have started to 
make fun of me ? I must own this is much more probable, 
much more natural than any suggested passion on the part of 
madamoiselle de La Mole for a poor devil of a secretary. In 
the first place, have those people got any passions at all? 
Mystification is their strong point. They are jealous of my 
poor little superiority in speaking. Being jealous again is one 
of their weaknesses. On that basis everything is explicable. 
Mademoiselle de La Mole simply wants to persuade me that 
she is marking me out for special favour in order to show me 
off to her betrothed ? " 

This cruel suspicion completely changed Julien's psycholo- 
gical condition. The idea found in his heart a budding love 
which it had no difficulty in destroying. This love was only 
founded on Mathilde's rare beauty, or rather on her queenly 
manners and her admirable dresses. Julien was still a parvenu 
in this respect. We are assured that there is nothing 
equal to a pretty society women for dazzling a peasant who is 
at the same time a man of intellect, when he is admitted to 
first class society. It had not been Mathilde's character 
which had given Julien food for dreams in the days that had 
just passed. He had sufficient sense to realise that he knew 
nothing about her character. All he saw of it might be merely 


For instance, Mathilde would not have missed mass on 
Sunday for anything in the world. She accompanied her 
mother there nearly every time. If when in the salon of the 
hotel de La Mole some indiscreet man forgot where he was, 
and indulged in the remotest allusion to any jest against the 
real or supposed interests of Church or State, Mathilde 
immediately assumed an icy seriousness. Her previously arch 
expression re-assumed all the impassive haughtiness of an old 
family portrait. 

But Julien had assured himself that she always had one or 
two of Voltaire's most philosophic volumes in her room. He 
himself would often steal some tomes of that fine edition 
which was so magnificently bound. By moving each volume 
a little distance from the one next to it he managed to hide 
the absence of the one he took away, but he soon noticed 
that someone else was reading Voltaire. He had recourse to 
a trick worthy of the seminary and placed some pieces of hair 
on those volumes which he thought were likely to interest 
mademoiselle de La Mole. They disappeared for whole 

M. de La Mole had lost patience with his bookseller, who 
always sent him all the spurious memoirs, and had instructed 
Julien to buy all the new books, which were at all stimulating. 
But in order to prevent the poison spreading over the house- 
hold, the secretary was ordered to place the books in a little 
book-case that stood in the marquis's own room. He was 
soon quite certain that although the new books were hostile to 
the interests of both State and Church, they very quickly dis- 
appeared. It was certainly not Norbert who read them. 

Julien attached undue importance to this discovery, and 
attributed to mademoiselle de La Mole a Macchiavellian role. 
This seeming depravity constituted a charm in his eyes, the 
one moral charm, in fact, which she possessed. He was led 
into this extravagance by his boredom with hypocrisy and 
moral platitudes. 

It was more a case of his exciting his own imagination than 
of his being swept away by his love. 

It was only after he had abandoned himself to reveries 
about the elegance of mademoiselle de La Mole's figure, the 
excellent taste of he dress, the whiteness of her hand, the 
beauty of her arm, the disinvoltura of all her movements, that 

A PLOT 327 

he began to find himself in love. Then in order to complete 
the charm he thought her a Catherine de Medicis. Nothing 
was too deep or too criminal for the character which he as- 
cribed to her. She was the ideal of the Maslons, the Frilairs, 
and the Castanedes whom he had admired so much in his 
youth. To put it shortly, she represented in his eyes the Paris 

Could anything possibly be more humorous than believing 
in the depth or in the depravity of the Parisian character ? 

It is impossible that this trio is making fun of me thought 
Julien. The reader knows little of his character if he has not 
begun already to imagine his cold and gloomy expression when 
he answered Mathilde's looks. A bitter irony rebuffed those 
assurances of friendship which the astonished mademoiselle de 
La Mole ventured to hazard on two or three occasions. 

Piqued by this sudden eccentricity, the heart of this young 
girl, though naturally cold, bored and intellectual, became as 
impassioned as it was naturally capable of being. But there 
was also a large element of pride in Mathilde's character, and 
the birth of a sentiment which made all her happiness de- 
pendent on another, was accompanied by a gloomy melancholy. 

Julien had derived sufficient advantage from his stay in 
Paris to appreciate that this was not the frigid melancholy of 
ennui. Instead of being keen as she had been on at-homes, 
theatres, and all kinds of distractions, she now shunned them. 

Music sung by Frenchmen bored Mathilde to death, yet 
Julien, who always made a point of being present when the 
audience came out of the Opera, noticed that she made a 
point of getting taken there as often as she could. He thought 
he noticed that she had lost a little of that brilliant neatness of 
touch which used to be manifest in everything she did. She 
would sometimes answer her friends with jests rendered 
positively outrageous through the sheer force of their stinging 
energy. He thought that she made a special butt of the 
marquis de Croisenois. That young man must be desperately 
in love with money not to give the go-by to that girl, however 
rich she maybe, thought Julien. And as for himself, indignant 
at these outrages on masculine self-respect, he redoubled his 
frigidity towards her. Sometimes he went so far as to answer 
her with scant courtesy. 

In spite of his resolution not to become the dupe of 


Mathilde's signs of interest, these manifestations were so 
palpable on certain days, and Julien, whose eyes were be- 
ginning to be opened, began to find her so pretty, that he 
was sometimes embarrassed. 

" These young people of society will score in the long run 
by their skill and their coolness over my inexperience," he said 
to himself. " I must leave and put an end to all this." The 
marquis had just entrusted him with the administration of a 
number of small estates and houses which he possessed in 
Lower Languedoc. A journey was necessary; M. de la 
Mole reluctantly consented. Julien had become his other 
self, except in those matters which concerned his political 

" So, when we come to balance the account," Julien said to 
himself, as he prepared his departure, " they have not caught 
me. Whether the jests that mademoiselle de La Mole made 
to those gentlemen are real, or whether they were only 
intended to inspire me with confidence, they have simply 
amused me. 

" If there is no conspiracy against the carpenter's son, 
mademoiselle de La Mole is an enigma, but at any rate, she is 
quite as much an enigma for the marquis de Croisenois as she 
is to me. Yesterday, for instance, her bad temper was very 
real, and I had the pleasure of seeing her snub, thanks to her 
favour for me, a young man who is as noble and as rich as I 
am a poor scoundrel of a plebeian. That is my finest triumph ; 
it will divert me in my post-chaise as I traverse the Languedoc 

He had kept his departure a secret, but Mathilde knew, 
even better than he did himself, that he was going to leave 
Paris the following day for a long time. She developed a 
maddening headache, which was rendered worse by the stuffy 
salon. She walked a great deal in the garden, and persecuted 
Norbert, the marquis de Croisenois, Caylus, de Luz, and some 
other young men who had dined at the hotel de La Mole, to 
such an extent by her mordant witticisms, that she drove them 
to take their leave. She kept looking at Julien in a strange 

" Perhaps that look is a pose," thought Julien, " but how 
about that hurried breathing and all that agitation? Bah," 
he said to himself, " who am I to djuge of such things ? We 

A PLOT 329 

are dealing with the cream of Parisian sublimity and subtlety. 
As for that hurried breathing which was on the point of 
affecting me, she no doubt studied it with Leontine Fay, whom 
she likes so much." 

They were left alone; the conversation was obviously 
languishing. "No, Julien has no feeling for me," said 
Mathilde to herself, in a state of real unhappiness. 

As he was taking leave of her she took his arm violently. 
" You will receive a letter from me this evening," she said 
to him in a voice that was so changed that its tone was 
scarcely recognisable. 

This circumstance affected Julien immediately. 
" My father," she continued, " has a proper regard for the 
services you render him. You must not leave to-morrow ; find 
an excuse." And she ran away. 

Her figure was charming. It was impossible to have a 
prettier foot. She ran with a grace which fascinated Julien, 
but will the reader guess what he began to think about after 
she had finally left him ? He felt wounded by the imperious 
tone with which she had said the words, " you must." Louis 
XV. too, when on his death-bed, had been keenly irritated by 
the words " you must," which had been tactlessly pronounced 
by his first physician, and yet Louis XV. was not a parvenu. 

An hour afterwards a footman gave Julien a letter. It was 
quite simply a declaration of love. 

" The style is too affected," said Julien to himself, as he 
endeavoured to control by his literary criticism the joy 
which was spreading over his cheeks and forcing him to smile 
in spite of himself. 

At last his passionate exultation was too strong to be con- 
trolled. " So I," he suddenly exclaimed, " I, the poor peasant, 
get a declaration of love from a great lady." 

"As for myself, I haven't done so badly," he added, 
restraining his joy as much as he could. " I have managed to 
preserve my self-respect. I did not say that I loved her." 
He began to study the formation of the letters. Mademoiselle 
de La Mole had a pretty little English handwriting. He 
needed some concrete occupation to distract him from a joy 
which verged on delirium. 

" Your departure forces me to speak. ... I could not bear 
not to see you again." 


A thought had just struck Julien like a new discovery. It 
interrupted his examination of Mathilde's letter, and redoubled 
his joy. "So I score over the marquis de Croisenois," he 
exclaimed. " Yes, I who could only talk seriously ! And he 
is so handsome. He has a moustache and a charming 
uniform. He always manages to say something witty and 
clever just at the psychological moment." 

Julien experienced a delightful minute. He was wandering 
at random in the garden, mad with happiness. 

Afterwards he went up to his desk, and had himself ushered 
in to the marquis de La Mole, who was fortunately still in. 
He showed him several stamped papers which had come from 
Normandy, and had no difficulty in convincing him that he 
was obliged to put off his departure for Languedoc in order to 
look after the Normandy lawsuits. 

" I am very glad that you are not going," said the marquis 
to him, when they had finished talking business. " I like 
seeing you." Julien went out ; the words irritated him. 

" And I I am going to seduce his daughter ! and perhaps 
render impossible that marriage with the marquis de Croisenois 
to which the marquis looks forward with such delight. If he 
does not get made a duke, at any rate his daughter will have 
a coronet." Julien thought of leaving for Languedoc in spite 
of Mathilde's letter, and in spite of the explanation he had 
just given to the marquis. This flash of virtue quickly 

" How kind it is of me," he said to himself, "me ... a plebeian, 
takes pity on a family of this rank ! Yes, me, whom the duke 
of Chaulnes calls a servant ! How does the marquis manage 
to increase his immense fortune ? By selling stock when he 
picks up information at the castle that there will be a panic 
of a coup d'etat on the following day. And shall I, who 
have been flung down into the lowest class by a cruel 
providence I, whom providence has given a noble heart but 
not an income of a thousand francs, that is to say, not enough 
to buy bread with, literally not enough to buy bread with 
shall I refuse a pleasure that presents itself? A limpid 
fountain which will quench my thirst in this scorching desert 
of mediocrity which I am traversing with such difficulty ! 
Upon my word, I am not such a fool ! Each man for himself 
in that desert of egoism which is called life." 


And he remembered certain disdainful looks which madame 
de La Mole, and especially her lady friends, had favoured him 

The pleasure of scoring over the marquis de Croisenois 
completed the rout of this echo of virtue. 

" How I should like to make him angry," said Julien. 
"With what confidence would I give him a sword thrust 
now!" And he went through the segoon thrust. "Up till 
now I have been a mere usher, who exploited basely the little 
courage he had. After this letter I am his equal. 

" Yes," he slowly said to himself, with an infinite pleasure, 
" the merits of the marquis and myself have been weighed in 
the balance, and it is the poor carpenter from the Jura who 
turns the scale. 

" Good ! " he exclaimed, " this is how I shall sign my 
answer. Don't imagine, mademoiselle de La Mole, that I am 
forgetting my place. I will make you realise and fully 
appreciate that it is for a carpenter's son that you are betraying 
a descendant of the famous Guy de Croisenois who followed 
St. Louis to the Crusade." 

Julien was unable to control his joy. He was obliged to 
go down into the garden. He had locked himself in his 
room, but he found it too narrow to breathe in. 

" To think of it being me, the poor peasant from the Jura," 
he kept on repeating to himself, " to think of it being me who 
am eternally condemned to wear this gloomy black suit ! Alas 
twenty years ago I would have worn a uniform like they do ! 
In those days a man like me either got killed or became a 
general at thirty-six. The letter which he held clenched in 
his hand gave him a heroic pose and stature. Nowadays, it 
is true, if one sticks to this black suit, one gets at forty an 
income of a hundred thousand francs and the blue ribbon like 
my lord bishop of Beauvais. 

"Well," he said to himself with a Mephistophelian smile, 
" I have more brains than they. I am shrewd enough to choose 
the uniform of my century. And he felt a quickening of his 
ambition and of his attachment to his ecclesiastical dress. 
What cardinals of even lower birth than mine have not 
succeeded in governing ! My compatriot Granvelle, for 

Julien's agitation became gradually calmed ! Prudence 


emerged to the top. He said to himself like his master 
Tartufe whose part he knew by heart : 

Je puis croire ces mots, un artifice honnete. 

Je ne me firai point a des propos si doux, 
Qu'un peu de ses faveurs apres quoi je soupire 
Ne vienne m'assurer tout ce qu'ils m'ont pudire. 

Tartufe, act iv. Scene v. 

"Tartufe, too, was ruined by a woman, and he was as good 
as most men .... My answer may be shown .... 
and the way out of that is this," he added pronouncing his 
words slowly with an intonation of deliberate and restrained 
ferocity. " We will begin by quoting the most vivid passages 
from the letter of the sublime Mathilde." 

" Quite so, but M. de Croisenois' lackeys will hurl them- 
selves upon me and snatch the original away." 

" No, they won't, for I am well armed, and as we know I 
am accustomed to firing on lackeys." 

"Well, suppose one of them has courage, and hurls himself 
upon me. He has been promised a hundred napoleons. I 
kill him, or wound him, good, that's what they want. I shall 
be thrown into prison legally. I shall be had up in the police 
court and the judges will send me with all justice and all 
equity to keep Messieurs Fontan and Magalon company in 
Poissy. There I shall be landed in the middle of four 
hundred scoundrels .... And am I to have the 
slightest pity on these people," he exclaimed getting up im- 
petuously ! " Do they show any to persons of the third estate 
when they have them in their power ! " With these words his 
gratitude to M. de La Mole, which had been in spite of himself 
torturing his conscience up to this time, breathed its last. 

" Softly, gentlemen, I follow this little Macchiavellian trick, 
the abbe Maslon or M. Castanede of the seminary could not 
have done better. You will take the provocative letter away 
from me and I shall exemplify the second volume of Colonel 
Caron at Colmar." 

" One moment, gentlemen, I will send the fatal letter in a 
well-sealed packet to M. the abbe Pirard to take care of. He's 
an honest man, a Jansenist, and consequently incorruptible. 
Yes, but he will open the letters . . . Fouque is the man 
to whom I must send it." 

A PLOT 333 

We must admit that Julien's expression was awful, his 
countenance ghastly ; it breathed unmitigated criminality. It 
represented the unhappy man at war with all society. 

"To arms," exclaimed Julien. And he bounded up the 
flight of steps of the hotel with one stride. He entered the 
stall of the street scrivener ; he frightened him. " Copy this," 
he said, giving him mademoiselle de La Mole's letter. 

While the scrivener was working, he himself wrote to 
Fouque. He asked him to take care of a valuable deposit. 
" But he said to himself," breaking in upon his train of 
thought, " the secret service of the post-office will open my 
letter, and will give you gentlemen the one you are looking 
for ... . not quite, gentlemen." He went and bought 
an enormous Bible from a Protestant bookseller, skilfully hid 
Mathilde's letter in the cover, and packed it all up. His 
parcel left by the diligence addressed to one of Fouque's 
workmen, whose name was known to nobody at Paris. 

This done, he returned to the h6tel de La Mole, joyous and 

Now it's our turn he exclaimed as he locked himself into the 
room and threw off his coat. 

" What ! mademoiselle," he wrote to Mathilde, " is it 
mademoiselle de La Mole who gets Arsene her father's lackey 
to hand an only too flattering letter to a poor carpenter from 
the Jura, in order no doubt to make fun of his simplicity ? " 
And he copied out the most explicit phrases in the letter 
which he had just received. His own letter would have done 
honour to the diplomatic prudence of M. the Chevalier de 
Beauvoisis. It was still only ten o'clock when Julien entered 
the Italian opera, intoxicated with happiness and that feeling 
of his own power which was so novel for a poor devil like him. 
He heard his friend Geronimo sing. Music had never exalted 
him to such a pitch. 



What perplexity ! What sleepless nights ! Great God. 
Am I going to make myself contemptible? He will 
despise me himself. But he is leaving, he is going away. 

Alfred de Musset. 

Mathilde had not written without a struggle. Whatever 
might have been the beginning of her interest in Julien, it 
soon dominated that pride which had reigned unchallenged in 
her heart since she had begun to know herself. This cold 
and haughty soul was swept away for the first time by a 
sentiment of passion, but if this passion dominated her pride, 
it still kept faithfully to the habits of that pride. Two months 
of struggles and new sensations had transformed, so to speak 
her whole moral life. 

Mathilde thought she was in sight of happiness. This vista, 
irresistible as it is for those who combine a superior intellect 
with a courageous soul, had to struggle for a long time against 
her self respect and all her vulgar duties. One day she went 
into her mother's room at seven o'clock in the morning and 
asked permission to take refuge in Villequier. The marquise 
did not even deign to answer her, and advised her to go back 
to bed. This was the last effort of vulgar prudence and 
respect for tradition. 

The fear of doing wrong and of offending those ideas which 
the Caylus's, the de Luz's, the Croisenois' held for sacred had 
little power over her soul. She considered such creatures 
incapable of understanding her. She would have consulted 
them, if it had been a matter of buying a carriage or an estate. 
Her real fear was that Julien was displeased with her. 

" Perhaps he, too, has only the appearance of a superior 


She abhorred lack of character ; that was her one objection 
to the handsome young men who surrounded her. The more 
they made elegant fun of everything which deviated from the 
prevailing mode, or which conformed to it but indifferently, 
the lower they fell in her eyes. 

They were brave and that was all. " And after all in what 
way were they brave ? " she said to herself. " In duels, but 
the duel is nothing more than a formality. The whole thing 
is mapped out beforehand, even the correct thing to say when 
you fall. Stretched on the turf, and with your hand on your 
heart, you must vouchsafe a generous forgiveness to the 
adversary, and a few words for a fair lady, who is often 
imaginary, or if she does exist, will go to a ball on the day of 
your death for fear of arousing suspicion." 

" One braves danger at the head of a squadron brilliant 
with steel, but how about that danger which is solitary, 
strange, unforeseen and really ugly." 

" Alas," said Mathilde to herself, " it was at the court of 
Henri III. that men who were great both by character and by 
birth were to be found ! Yes ! If Julien had served at Jarnac 
or Moncontour, I should no longer doubt. In those days of 
strength and vigour Frenchmen were not dolls. The day of the 
battle was almost the one which presented the fewest problems." 

Their life was not imprisoned, like an Egyptian mummy 
in a covering which was common to all, and always the same. 
" Yes," she added, " there was more real courage in going 
home alone at eleven o'clock in the evening when one came 
out of the hotel de Soissons where Catherine de M^dicis 
lived than there is nowadays in running over to Algiers. A 
man's life was then a series of hazards. Nowadays civilisation 
has banished hazard. There are no more surprises. If any- 
thing new appears in any idea there are not sufficient epigrams 
to immortalise it, but if anything new appears in actual life, 
our panic reaches the lowest depth of cowardice. Whatever 
folly panic makes us commit is excused. What a degenerate 
and boring age ! What would Boniface de la Mole have 
said if, lifting his cut-off head out of the tomb, he had seen 
seventeen of his descendants allow themselves to be caught 
like sheep in 1793 in order to be guillotined two days after- 
wards ! Death was certain, but it would have been bad form 
to have defended themselves and to have killed at least one or 


two Jacobins. Yes ! in the heroic days of France, in the age 
of Boniface de La Mole, Julien would have been the chief of a 
squadron, while my brother would have been the young priest 
with decorous manners, with wisdom in his eyes and reason on 
his lips." Some months previously Mathilde had given up all 
hope of meeting any being who was a little different from the 
common pattern. She had found some happiness in allowing 
herself to write to some young society men. This rash pro- 
cedure, which was so unbecoming and so imprudent in a young 
girl, might have disgraced her in the eyes of M. de Croisenois, 
the Duke de Chaulnes, his father, and the whole hotel de 
Chaulnes, who on seeing the projected marriage broken off 
would have wanted to know the reason. At that time 
Mathilde had been unable to sleep on those days when she 
had written one of her letters. But those letters were only 
answers. But now she ventured to declare her own love. 
She wrote first (what a terrible word !) to a man of the 
lowest social grade. 

This circumstance rendered her eternal disgrace quite in- 
evitable in the event of detection. Who of the women who 
visited her mother would have dared to take her part ? What 
official excuse could be evolved which could successfully cope 
with the awful contempt of society. 

Besides speaking was awful enough, but writing ! " There 
are some things which are not written ! " Napoleon had ex- 
claimed on learning of the capitulation of Baylen. And it 
was Julien who had told her that epigram, as though giving 
her a lesson that was to come in useful subsequently. 

But all this was comparatively unimportant, Mathilde's 
anguish had other causes. Forgetting the terrible effect it 
would produce on society, and the ineffable blot on her 
scutcheon that would follow such an outrage on her own caste, 
Mathilde was going to write to a person of a very different 
character to the Croisenois', the de Luz's, the Caylus's. 

She would have been frightened at the depth and mystery 
in Julien's character, even if she had merely entered into 
a conventional acquaintance with him. And she was going to 
make him her lover, perhaps her master. 

" What will his pretensions not be, if he is ever in a posi- 
tion to do everything with me ? Well ! I shall say, like 
Medea : Au milieu de tant de perils il me reste Moi." 


She believed that Julien had no respect for nobility of blood. 
What was more, he probably did not love her. 

In these last moments of awful doubt her feminine pride 
suggested to her certain ideas. " Everything is bound to be 
extraordinary in the life of a girl like me," exclaimed Mathilde 
impatiently. The pride, which had been drilled into her since 
her cradle, began to struggle with her virtue. It was at this 
moment that Julien's departure precipitated everything. 

(Such characters are luckily very rare.) 

Very late in the evening, Julien was malicious enough to 
have a very heavy trunk taken down to the porter's lodge. He 
called the valet, who was courting mademoiselle de la Mole's 
chambermaid, to move it. " This manoeuvre cannot result in 
anything," he said to himself, " but if it does succeed, she will 
think that I have gone." Very tickled by this humorous 
thought, he fell asleep. Mathilde did not sleep a wink. 

Julien left the hotel very early the next morning without 
being seen, but he came back before eight o'clock. 

He had scarcely entered the library before M. de la Mole 
appeared on the threshold. He handed her his answer. He 
thought that it was his duty to speak to her, it was certainly 
perfectly feasible, but mademoiselle de la Mole would not 
listen to him and disappeared. Julien was delighted. He 
did not know what to say. 

" If all this is not a put up job with comte Norbert, it is 
clear that it is my cold looks which have kindled the strange 
love which this aristocratic girl chooses to entertain for me. 
I should be really too much of a fool if I ever allowed myself 
to take a fancy to that big blonde doll." This train of reason- 
ing left him colder and more calculating than he had ever 

" In the battle for which we are preparing," he added, 
" pride of birth will be like a high hill which constitutes a 
military position between her and me. That must be the 
field of the manoeuvres. I made a great mistake in staying in 
Paris ; this postponing of my departure cheapens and exposes 
me, if all this is simply a trick. What danger was there in 
leaving ? If they were making fun of me, I was making fun 
of them. If her interest for me was in any way real, I was 
making that interest a hundred times more intense." 

Mademoiselle de la Mole's letter had given Julien's vanity 



so keen a pleasure, that wreathed as he was in smiles at his 
good fortune he had forgotten to think seriously about the 
propriety of leaving. 

It was one of the fatal elements of his character to be 
extremely sensitive to his own weaknesses. He was extremely 
upset by this one, and had almost forgotten the incredible 
victory which had preceded this slight check, when about 
nine o'clock mademoiselle de la Mole appeared on the thres- 
hold of the library, flung him a letter and ran away. 

" So this is going to be the romance by letters," he said 
as he picked it up. " The enemy makes a false move ; I will 
reply by coldness and virtue." 

He was asked with a poignancy which merely increased his 
inner gaiety to give a definite answer. He indulged in the 
pleasure of mystifying those persons who he thought wanted 
to make fun of him for two pages, and it was out of humour 
again that he announced towards the end of his answer his 
definite departure on the following morning. 

11 The garden will be a useful place to hand her the letter," 
he thought after he had finished it, and he went there. He 
looked at the window of mademoiselle de la Mole's room. 

It was on the first storey, next to her mother's apartment, 
but there was a large ground floor. 

This latter was so high that, as Julien walked under the 
avenue of pines with his letter in his hands, he could not be 
seen from mademoiselle de la Mole's window. The dome 
formed by the well clipped pines intercepted the view. 
" What !" said Julien to himself angrily, " another indiscretion ! 
If they have really begun making fun of me, showing myself 
with a letter is playing into my enemy's hands." 

Norbert's room was exactly above his sister's and if Julien 
came out from under the dome formed by the clipped branches 
of the pine, the comte and his friend could follow all his 

Mademoiselle de la Mole appeared behind her window ; he 
half showed his letter ; she lowered her head, then Julien ran 
up to his own room and met accidently on the main staircase 
the fair Mathilde, who seized the letter with complete self- 
possession and smiling eyes. 

" What passion there was in the eyes of that poor madame 
de Renal," said Julien to himself, " when she ventured to 


receive a letter from me, even after six months of intimate 
relationship ! I don't think she ever looked at me with 
smiling eyes in her whole life." 

He did not formulate so precisely the rest of his answer ; 
was he perhaps ashamed of the triviality of the motive which 
were actuating him ? 

" But how different too," he went on to think, " are her 
elegant morning dress and her distinguished appearance ! A 
man of taste on seeing mademoiselle de la Mole thirty yards off 
would infer the position which she occupies in society. 
That is what can be called a specific merit." 

In spite of all this humorousness, Julien was not yet quite 
honest with himself; rnadame de Renal had no marquis de 
Croisenois to sacrifice to him. His only rival was that 
grotesque sub-prefect, M. Charcot, who assumed the name of 
Maugiron, because there were no Maugirons left in France. 

At five o'clock Julien received a third letter. It was thrown 
to him from the library door. Mademoiselle de la Mole ran 
away again. " What a mania for writing," he said to himself 
with a laugh, " when one can talk so easily. The enemy 
wants my letters, that is clear, and many of them." He did not 
hurry to open this one. " More elegant phrases," he thought ; 
but he paled as he read it. There were only eight lines. 

" I need to speak to you ; I must speak to you this evening. 
Be in the garden at the moment when one o'clock is striking. 
Take the big gardeners' ladder near the well ; place it against 
my window, and climb up to my room. It is moonlight ; 
never mind." 



Oh, how cruel is the interval between the conception 
and the execution of a great project. What vain fears, 
what fits of irresolution ! It is a matter of life and 
death even more is at stake honour ! Schiller. 

" This is getting serious," thought Julien, " and a little too 
clear," he added after thinking a little. " Why to be sure ! 
This fine young lady can talk to me in the library with a free- 
dom which, thank heaven, is absolutely complete ; the marquis, 
frightened as he is that I show him accounts, never sets foot in 
it. Why ! M. de la Mole and the comte Norbert, the only 
persons who ever come here, are absent nearly the whole day, 
and the sublime Mathilde for whom a sovereign prince would 
not be too noble a suitor, wants me to commit an abominable 

" It is clear they want to ruin me, or at the least make fun 
of me. First they wanted to ruin me by my own letters ; they 
happen to be discreet ; well, they want some act which is 
clearer than daylight. These handsome little gentlemen think 
I am too silly or too conceited. The devil ! To think of climb- 
ing like this up a ladder to a storey twenty-five feet high in the 
finest moonlight. They would have time to see me, even from 
the neighbouring houses. I shall cut a pretty figure to be sure 
on my ladder ! " Julien went up to his room again and began 
to pack his trunk whistling. He had decided to leave and not 
even to answer. 

But this wise resolution did not give him peace of mind. 
" If by chance," he suddenly said to himself after he had 
closed his trunk, " Mathilde is in good faith, why then I 
cut the figure of an arrant coward in her eyes. I have 

IS IT A PLOT? 341 

no birth myself, so I need great qualities attested straight 
away by speaking actions money down no charitable 

He spent a quarter-of-an-hour in reflecting. " What is the 
good of denying it ? " he said at last. " She will think me a 
coward. I shall lose not only the most brilliant person in 
high society, as they all said at M. the duke de Retz's ball, but 
also the heavenly pleasure of seeing the marquis de Croisenois, 
the son of a duke, who will be one day a duke himself, sacrificed 
to me. A charming young man who has all the qualities I 
lack. A happy wit, birth, fortune 

" This regret will haunt me all my life, not on her account, 
' there are so many mistresses ! . . . but there is only one 
honour ! ' says old don Diego. And here am I clearly 
and palpably shrinking from the first danger that presents 
itself; for the duel with M. de Beauvoisis was simply a joke. 
This is quite different. A servant may fire at me point blank, 
but that is the least danger ; I may be disgraced. 

" This is getting serious, my boy," he added with a Gascon 
gaiety and accent. " Honour is at stake. A poor devil flung 
by chance into as low a grade as I am will never find such an 
opportunity again. I shall have my conquests, but they will 
be inferior ones " 

He reflected for a long time, he walked up and down 
hurriedly, and then from time to time would suddenly stop. 
A magnificent marble bust of cardinal de Richelieu had been 
placed in his room. It attracted his gaze in spite of himself. 
This bust seemed to look at him severely as though reproach- 
ing him with the lack of that audacity which ought to be so 
natural to the French character. "-Would I have hesitated in 
your age great man ? " 

" At the worst," said Julien to himself, " suppose all this is 
a trap, it is pretty black and pretty compromising for a young 
girl. They know that I am not the man to hold my tongue. 
They will therefore have to kill me. That was right enough 
in 1574 in the days of Boniface de la Mole, but nobody to- 
day would ever have the pluck. They are not the same men. 
Mademoiselle de la Mole is the object of so much jealousy. 
Four hundred salons would ring with her disgrace to-morrow, 
and how pleased they would all be. 

" The servants gossip among themselves about marked the 


favours of which I am the recipient. I know it, I have heard 

" On the other hand they're her letters. They may think 
that I have them on me. They may surprise me in her room 
and take them from me. I shall have to deal with two, three, 
or four men. How can I tell ? But where are they going to 
find these men ? Where are they to find discreet subordinates 

in Paris ? Justice frightens them By God ! It may 

be the Caylus's, the Croisenois', the de Luz's themselves. 
The idea of the ludicrous figure I should cut in the middle of 
them at the particular minute may have attracted them. 
Look out for the fate of Abailard, M. the secretary. 

11 Well, by heaven, I'll mark you. I'll strike at your faces 
like Caesar's soldiers at Pharsalia. As for the letters, I can 
put them in a safe place." 

Julien copied out the two last, hid them in a fine volume of 
Voltaire in the library and himself took the originals to the 

" What folly am I going to rush into," he said to himself 
with surprise and terror when he returned. He had been a 
quarter of an hour without contemplating what he was to do 
on this coming night. 

" But if I refuse, I am bound to despise myself afterwards. 
This matter will always occasion me great doubt during my 
whole life, and to a man like me such doubts are the most 
poignant unhappiness. Did I not feel like that for Amanda's 
lover ! I think I would find it easier to forgive myself for a 
perfectly clear crime ; once admitted, I could leave off thinking 
of it. 

" Why ! I shall have been the rival of a man who bears one 
of the finest names in France, and then out of pure light- 
heartedness, declared myself his inferior ! After all, it is 
cowardly not to go ; these words clinch everything," exclaimed 
Julien as he got up ... " besides she is quite pretty." 

" If this is not a piece of treachery, what a folly is she not 
committing for my sake. If it's a piece of mystification, by 
heaven, gentlemen, it only depends on me to turn the jest 
into earnest and that I will do. 

" But supposing they tie my hands together at the moment 
I enter the room : they may have placed some ingenious 
machine there. 

IS IT A PLOT? 343 

" It's like a duel," he said to himself with a laugh. " Every- 
one makes a full parade, says my niatre tTarmes, but the 
good God, who wishes the thing to end, makes one of them 
forget to parry. Besides, here's something to answer them 
with." He drew his pistols out of his pocket, and although 
the priming was shining, he renewed it. 

There was still several hours to wait. Julien wrote to 
Fouque in order to have something to do. " My friend, do 
not open the enclosed letter except in the event of an 
accident, if you hear that something strange has happened to 
me. In that case blot out the proper names in the manuscript 
which I am sending you, make eight copies of it, and send it 
to the papers of Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lyons, Brussels, etc. 
Ten days later have the manuscript printed, send the first 
copy to M. the marquis de la Mole, and a fortnight after that 
throw the other copies at night into the streets of Verrieres. 

Julien made this little memoir in defence of his position 
as little compromising as possible for mademoiselle de la 
Mole. Fouque was only to open it in the event of an 
accident. It was put in the form of a story, but in fact it 
exactly described his situation. 

Julien had just fastened his packet when the dinner bell 
rang. It made his heart beat. His imagination was distracted 
by the story which he had just composed, and fell a prey to 
tragic presentiments. He saw himself seized by servants, 
trussed, and taken into a cellar with a gag in his mouth. A 
servant was stationed there, who never let him out of sight, 
and if the family honour required that the adventure should 
have a tragic end, it was easy to finish everything with those 
poisons which leave no trace. They could then say that he 
had died of an illness and would carry his dead body back into 
his room. 

Thrilled like a dramatic author by his own story, Julien 
was really afraid when he entered the dining-room. He 
looked at all those liveried servants he studied their faces. 
"Which ones are chosen for to-night's expedition?" he said 
to himself. "The memories of the court of Henri III. are so 
vivid in this family, and so often recalled, that if they think 
they have been insulted they will show more resolution than 
other persons of the same rank." He looked at mademoiselle 
de la Mole in order to read the family plans in her eyes ; she 


was pale and looked quite middle-aged. He thought that she 
had never looked so great : she was really handsome and 
imposing ; he almost fell in love with her. " Pallida morte 
futura? he said to himself (her pallor indicates her great 
plans). It was in vain that after dinner he made a point of 
walking for a long time in the garden, mademoiselle did not 
appear. Speaking to her at that moment would have lifted a 
great weight off his heart. 

Why not admit it ? he was afraid. As he had resolved to 
act, he was not ashamed to abandon himself to this emotion. 
"So long as I show the necessary courage at the actual 
moment," he said to himself, " what does it matter what I 
feel at this particular moment ? " He went to reconnoitre the 
situation and find out the weight of the ladder. 

"This is an instrument," he said to himself with a smile, 
" which I am fated to use both here and at Verrieres. What 
a difference ! In those days," he added with a sigh, " I was 
not obliged to distrust the person for whom I exposed myself 
to danger. What a difference also in the danger ! " 

"There would have been no dishonour for me if I had 
been killed in M. de Renal's gardens. It would have been 
easy to have made my death into a mystery. But here all 
kinds of abominable scandal will be talked in the salons of 
the hotel de Chaulnes, the hotel de Caylus, de Retz, etc., 
everywhere in fact. I shall go down to posterity as a monster." 
" For two or three years," he went on with a laugh, making 
fun of himself; but the idea paralysed him. " And how am 
I going to manage to get justified ? Suppose that Fouque 
does print my posthumous pamphlet, it will only be taken for 
an additional infamy. Why ! I get received into a house, and 
I reward the hospitality which I have received, the kindness 
with which I have been loaded by printing a pamphlet about 
what has happened and attacking the honour of women ! 
Nay ! I'd a thousand times rather be duped." 
The evening was awful. 



This garden was very big, it had been planned a few years ago in 
perfect taste. But the trees were more than a century old. It 
had a certain rustic atmosphere. Massinger. 

He was going to write a countermanding letter to Fouque 
when eleven o'clock struck. He noisily turned the lock of 
the door of his room as though he had locked himself in. 
He went with a sleuth-like step to observe what was happen- 
ing over the house, especially on the fourth storey where 
the servants slept. There was nothing unusual. One of 
madame de la Mole's chambermaids was giving an entertain- 
ment, the servants were taking punch with much gaiety. 
"Those who laugh like that," thought Julien, "cannot be 
participating in the nocturnal expedition ; if they were, they 
would be more serious." 

Eventually he stationed himself in an obscure corner of the 
garden. " If their plan is to hide themselves from the 
servants of the house, they will despatch the persons whom they 
have told off to surprise me over the garden wall. 

" If M. de Croisenois shows any sense of proportion in this 
matter, he is bound to find it less compromising for the young 
person, whom he wishes to make his wife if he has me 
surprised before I enter her room." 

He made a military and extremely detailed reconnaissance. 
" My honour is at stake," he thought. " If I tumble into 
some pitfall it will not be an excuse in my own eyes to say, 
* I never thought of it.' " 

The weather was desperately serene. About eleven o'clock 
the moon rose, at half-past twelve it completely illuminated 
the facade of the hotel looking out upon the garden. 


"She is mad," Julien said to himself. As one o'clock 
struck there was still a light in comte Norbert's windows. 
Julien had never been so frightened in his life, he only saw 
the dangers of the enterprise and had no enthusiasm at all. 
He went and took the immense ladder, waited five minutes to 
give her time to tell him not to go, and five minutes after one 
placed the ladder against Mathilde's window. He mounted 
softly, pistol in hand, astonished at not being attacked. As 
he approached the window it opened noiselessly. 

" So there you are, monsieur," said Mathilde to him with 
considerable emotion. " I have been following your move- 
ments for the last hour." 

Julien was very much embarrassed. He did not know how 
to conduct himself. He did not feel at all in love. He 
thought in his embarrassment that he ought to be venture- 
some. He tried to kiss Mathilde. 

" For shame," she said to him, pushing him away. 

Extremely glad at being rebuffed, he hastened to look 
round him. The moon was so brilliant that the shadows 
which it made in mademoiselle de la Mole's room were black. 
" It's quite possible for men to be concealed without my seeing 
them," be thought. 

" What have you got in your pocket at the side of your 
coat ? " Mathilde said to him, delighted at finding something 
to talk about. She was suffering strangely; all those 
sentiments of reserve and timidity which were so natural to a 
girl of good birth, had reasserted their dominion and were 
torturing her. 

" I have all kinds of arms and pistols," answered Julien 
equally glad at having something to say. 

" You must take the ladder away," said Mathilde. 

" It is very big, and may break the windows of the salon 
down below or the room on the ground floor." 

"You must not break the windows," replied Mathilde 
making a vain effort to assume an ordinary conversational 
tone ; "it seems to me you can lower the ladder by tying a 
cord to the first rung. I have always a supply of cords at 

"So this is a woman in love," thought Julien. "She 
actually dares to say that she is in love. So much self- 
possession and such shrewdness in taking precautions are 


sufficient indications that I am not triumphing over M. de 
Croisenois as I foolishly believed, but that I am simply 
succeeding him. As a matter of fact, what does it matter to 
me ? Do I love her ? I am triumphing over the marquis in 
so far as he would be very angry at having a successor, and 
angrier still at that successor being myself. How haughtily 
he looked at me this evening in the Cafe Tortoni when he 
pretended not to recognise me ! And how maliciously he 
bowed to me afterwards, when he could not get out of it." 

Julien had tied the cord to the last rung of the ladder. He 
lowered it softly and leant far out of the balcony in order to 
avoid its touching the window pane. " A fine opportunity to 
kill me," he thought, " if anyone is hidden in Mathilde's 
room ; " but a profound silence continued to reign everywhere. 
The ladder touched the ground. Julien succeeded in 
laying it on the border of the exotic flowers along side the 

" What will my mother say," said Mathilde, " when she 
sees her beautiful plants all crushed ? You must throw down 
the cord," she added with great self-possession. "If it were 
noticed going up to the balcony, it would be a difficult 
circumstance to explain." 

" And how am I to get away ? " said Julien in a jesting 
tone affecting the Creole accent. (One of the chambermaids 
of the household had been born in Saint-Domingo.) 

"You? Why you will leave by the door," said Mathilde, 
delighted at the idea. 

" Ah ! how worthy this man is of all my love," she thought. 
Julien had just let the cord fall into the garden ; Mathilde 
grasped his arm. He thought he had been seized by an 
enemy and turned round sharply, drawing a dagger. She had 
thought that she had heard a window opening. They 
remained motionless and scarcely breathed. The moonlight 
lit up everything. The noise was not renewed and there was 
no more cause for anxiety. 

Then their embarrassment began again; it was great on 
both sides. Julien assured himself that the door was 
completely locked ; he thought of looking under the bed, but 
he did not dare ; " they might have stationed one or two 
lackeys there." Finally he feared that he might reproach 
himself in the future for this lack of prudence, and did look. 


Mathilde had fallen into all the anguish of the most 
extreme timidity. She was horrified at her position. 

" What have you done with my letters ? " she said at last. 

" What a good opportunity to upset these gentlemen, if they 
are eavesdropping, and thus avoiding the battle," thought 

" The first is hid in a big Protestant Bible, which last night's 
diligence is taking far away from here." 

He spoke very distinctly as he went into these details, so as 
to be heard by any persons who might be concealed in two 
large mahogany cupboards which he had not dared to inspect. 

"The other two are in the post and are bound for the same 
destination as the first." 

" Heavens, why all these precautions ? " said Mathilde in 

" What is the good of my lying ? " thought Julien, and he 
confessed all his suspicions. 

11 So that's the cause for the coldness of your letters, dear," 
exclaimed Mathilde in a tone of madness rather than of 

Julien did not notice that nuance. The endearment made 
him lose his head, or at any rate his suspicions vanished. He 
dared to clasp in his arms that beautiful girl who inspired him 
with such respect. He was only partially rebuffed. He fell 
back on his memory as he had once at Besancon with 
Armanda Binet, and recited by heart several of the finest 
phrases out of the Nouvelle Heloise. 

" You have the heart of a man," was the answer she made 
without listening too attentively to his phrases ; " I wanted to 
test your courage, I confess it. Your first suspicions and your 
resolutions show you even more intrepid, dear, than I had 

Mathilde had to make an effort to call him " dear," and was 
evidently paying more attention to this strange method of 
speech than to the substance of what she was saying. Being 
called " dear " without any tenderness in the tone afforded no 
pleasure to Julien ; he was astonished at not being happy, and 
eventually fell back on his reasoning in order to be so. He 
saw that he was respected by this proud young girl who never 
gave undeserved praise ; by means of this reasoning he 
managed to enjoy the happiness of satisfied vanity. 


It was not, it was true, that soulful pleasure which he had 
sometimes found with madame de Renal. There was no 
element of tenderness in the feelings of these first few minutes. 
It was the keen happiness of a gratified ambition, and Julien 
was, above all, ambitious. He talked again of the people 
whom he had suspected and of the precautions which he had 
devised. As he spoke, he thought of the best means of 
exploiting his victory. 

Mathilde was still very embarrassed and seemed paralysed 
by the steps which she had taken. She appeared delighted to 
find a topic of conversation. They talked of how they were 
to see each other again. Julien extracted a delicious joy from 
the consciousness of the intelligence and the courage, of 
which he again proved himself possessed during this discussion. 
They had to reckon with extremely sharp people, the little 
Tanbeau was certainly a spy, but Mathilde and himself as well 
had their share of cleverness. 

What was easier than to meet in the library, and there make 
all arrangements ? 

" I can appear in all parts of the hotel," added Julien, 
" without rousing suspicion almost, in fact, in madame de la 
Mole's own room." It was absolutely necessary to go through 
it in order to reach her daughter's room. If Mathilde thought 
it preferable for him always to come by a ladder, then he 
would expose himself to that paltry danger with a heart 
intoxicated with joy. 

As she listened to him speaking, Mathilde was shocked by 
this air of triumph. "So he is my master," she said to 
herself, she was already a prey to remorse. Her reason was 
horrified at the signal folly which she had just committed. If 
she had had the power she would have annihilated both 
herself and Julien. When for a few moments she managed 
by sheer will-power to silence her pangs of remorse, she was 
rendered very unhappy by her timidity and wounded shame. 
She had quite failed to foresee the awful plight in which she 
now found herself. 

" I must speak to him, however," she said at last. " That is 
the proper thing to do. One does talk to one's lover. And 
then with a view of accomplishing a duty, and with a 
tenderness which was manifested rather in the words which 
she employed than in the inflection of her voice, she recounted 


various resolutions which she had made concerning him 
during the last few days. 

She had decided that if he should dare to come to her room 
by the help of the gardener's ladder according to his instruc- 
tions, she would be entirely his. But never were such tender 
passages spoken in a more polite and frigid tone. Up to the 
present this assignation had been icy. It was enough to make 
one hate the name of love. What a lesson in morality for a 
young and imprudent girl ! Is it worth while to ruin one's 
future for moments such as this ? 

After long fits of hesitation which a superficial observer 
might have mistaken for the result of the most emphatic hate 
(so great is the difficulty which a woman's self-respect finds in 
yielding even to so firm a will as hers) Mathilde became 
eventually a charming mistress. 

In point of fact, these ecstasies were a little artificial. 
Passionate love was still more the model which they imitated 
than a real actuality. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole thought she was fulfilling a duty 
towards herself and towards her lover. " The poor boy," she 
said to herself, " has shewn a consummate bravery. He 
deserves to be happy or it is really I who will be shewing a 
lack of character." But she would have been glad to have 
redeemed the cruel necessity in which she found herself even 
at the price of an eternity of unhappiness. 

In spite of the awful violence she was doing to herself she 
was completely mistress of her words. 

No regret and no reproach spoiled that night which Julien 
found extraordinary rather than happy. Great heavens ! what 
a difference to his last twenty-four hours' stay in Verrieres. 
These fine Paris manners manage to spoil everything, even 
love, he said to himself, quite unjustly. 

He abandoned himself to these reflections as he stood 
upright in one of the great mahogany cupboards into which 
he had been put at the sign of the first sounds of movement 
in the -neighbouring apartment, which was madame de la 
Mole's. Mathilde followed her mother to mass, the servants 
soon left the apartment and Julien easily escaped before they 
came back to finish their work. 

He mounted a horse and tried to find the most solitary 
spots in one of the forests near Paris. He was more 


astonished than happy. The happiness which filled his soul 
from time to time resembled that of a young sub-lieutenant 
who as the result of some surprising feat has just been made 
a full-fledged colonel by the commander-in-chief; he felt 
himself lifted up to an immense height. Everything which 
was above him the day before was now on a level with 
him or even below him. Little by little Julien's happiness 
increased in proportion as he got further away from Paris. 

If there was no tenderness in his soul, the reason was that, 
however strange it may appear to say so, Mathilde had in 
everything she had done, simply accomplished a duty. The 
only thing she had not foreseen in all the events of that night, 
was the shame and unhappiness which she had experienced 
instead of that absolute felicity which is found in novels. 

"Can I have made a mistake, and not be in love with 
him ? " she said to herself 



I now mean to be serious ; it is time 

Since laughter now-a-diiys is deemed too serious. 

A jest at vice by virtue s called a crime. 

Don Juan, c. xiii. 

She did not appear at dinner. She came for a minute into 
the salon in the evening, but did not look at Julien. He 
considered this behaviour strange, " but," he thought, " I do 
not know their usages. She will give me some good reason 
for all this." None the less he was a prey to the most 
extreme curiosity; he studied the expression of Mathilde's 
features; he was bound to own to himself that she looked 
cold and malicious. It was evidently not the same woman 
who on the proceeding night had had, or pretended to have, 
transports of happiness which were too extravagant to be 

The day after, and the subsequent day she showed the 
same coldness ; she did not look at him, she did not notice 
his existence. Julien was devoured by the keenest anxiety 
and was a thousand leagues removed from that feeling of 
triumph which had been his only emotion on the first day. 
"Can it be by chance," he said to himself, "a return to 
virtue?" But this was a very bourgeois word to apply to 
the haughty Mathilde. 

" Placed in an ordinary position in life she would disbelieve 
in religion," thought Julien, " she only likes it in so far as it is 
very useful to the interests of her class." 

But perhaps she may as a mere matter of delicacy be keenly 
reproaching herself for the mistake which she has committed. 
Julien believed that he was her first lover. 


" But," he said to himself at other moments, " I must admit 
that there is no trace of naivety, simplicity, or tenderness in 
her own demeanour; I have never seen her more haughty, 
can she despise me ? It would be worthy of her to reproach 
herself simply because of my low birth, for what she has done 
for me." 

While Julien, full of those preconceived ideas which he had 
found in books and in his memories of Verrieres, was chasing 
the phantom of a tender mistress, who from the minute when 
she has made her lover happy no longer thinks of her own 
existence, Mathilde's vanity was infuriated against him. 

As for the last two months she had no longer been bored, 
she was not frightened of boredom; consequently, without 
being able to have the slightest suspicion of it, Julien had lost 
his greatest advantage. 

" I have given myself a master," said mademoiselle de la 
Mole to herself, a prey to the blackest sorrow. " Luckily 
he is honour itself, but if I offend his vanity, he will revenge 
himself by making known the nature of our relations." 
Mathilde had never had a lover, and though passing through 
a stage of life which affords some tender illusions even to the 
coldest souls, she fell a prey to the most bitter reflections. 

" He has an immense dominion over me since his reign is 
one of terror, and he is capable, if I provoke him, of punishing 
me with an awful penalty." This idea alone was enough to 
induce mademoiselle de la Mole to insult him. Courage was 
the primary quality in her character. The only thing which 
could give her any thrill and cure her from a fundamental and 
chronically recurring ennui was the idea that she was staking 
her entire existence on a single throw. 

As mademoiselle de la Mole obstinately refused to look at 
him, Julien on the third day in spite of her evident objection, 
followed her into the billiard-room after dinner. 

" Well, sir, you think you have acquired some very strong 
rights over me ? " she said to him with scarcely controlled 
anger, " since you venture to speak to me, in spite of my very 
clearly manifested wish ? Do you know that no one in the 
world has had such effrontery ? " 

The dialogue of these two lovers was incomparably 
humourous. Without suspecting it, they were animated by 
mutual sentiments of the most vivid hate. As neither the 



one nor the other had a meekly patient character, while they 
were both disciples of good form, they soon came to informing 
each other quite clearly that they would break for ever. 

" I swear eternal secrecy to you," said Julien. " I should 
like to add that I would never address a single word to you, 
were it not that a marked change might perhaps jeopardise 
your reputation." He saluted respectfully and left. 

He accomplished easily enough what he believed to be a 
duty; he was very far from thinking himself much in love 
with mademoiselle de la Mole. He had certainly not loved 
her three days before, when he had been hidden in the big 
mahogany cupboard. But the moment that he found himself 
estranged from her for ever his mood underwent a complete 
and rapid change. 

His memory tortured him by going over the least details in 
that night, which had as a matter of fact left him so cold. 
In the very night that followed this announcement of a final 
rupture, Julien almost went mad at being obliged to own to 
himself that he loved mademoiselle de la Mole. 

This discovery was followed by awful struggles : all his 
emotions were overwhelmed. 

Two days later, instead of being haughty towards M. de 
Croisenois, he could have almost burst out into tears and 
embraced him. 

His habituation to unhappiness gave him a gleam of common- 
sense, he decided to leave for Languedoc, packed his trunk 
and went to the post. 

He felt he would faint, when on arriving at the office of the 
mails, he was told that by a singular chance there was a place 
in the Toulouse mail. He booked it and returned to the 
hotel de la Mole to announce his departure to the marquis. 

M. de la Mole had gone out. More dead than alive 
Julien went into the library to wait for him. What was his 
emotion when he found mademoiselle de la Mole there. 

As she saw him come, she assumed a malicious expression 
which it was impossible to mistake. 

In his unhappiness and surprise Julien lost his head and 
was weak enough to say to her in a tone of the most heartfelt 
tenderness. " So you love me no more." 

" I am horrified at having given myself to the first man who 
came along," said Mathilde crying with rage against herself. 


" The first man who came along," cried Julien, and he 
made for an old mediaeval sword which was kept in the 
library as a curiosity. 

His grief which he thought was at its maximum at the 
moment when he had spoken mademoiselle de la Mole had 
been rendered a hundred times more intense by the tears of 
shame which he saw her shedding. 

He would have been the happiest of men if he had been 
able to kill her. 

When he was on the point of drawing the sword with some 
difficulty from its ancient scabbard, Mathilde, rendered happy 
by so novel a sensation, advanced proudly towards him, her 
tears were dry. 

The thought of his benefactor the marquis de la Mole 
presented itself vividly to Julien. " Shall I kill his daughter ? " 
he said to himself, " how horrible." He made a movement 
to throw down the sword. " She will certainly," he thought, 
" burst out laughing at the sight of such a melodramatic pose : " 
that idea was responsible for his regaining all his self-possession. 
He looked curiously at the blade of the old sword as though 
he had been looking for some spot of rust, then put it back in 
the scabbard and replaced it with the utmost tranquillity on 
the gilt bronze nail from which it hung. 

The whole manoeuvre, which towards the end was very slow, 
lasted quite a minute ; mademoiselle de la Mole looked at 
him in astonishment. " So I have been on the verge of being 
killed by my lover," she said to herself. 

This idea transported her into the palmiest days of the age 
of Charles IX. and of Henri III. 

She stood motionless before Julien, who had just replaced 
the sword ; she looked at him with eyes whose hatred had 
disappeared. It must be owned that she was very fascinating 
at this moment, certainly no woman looked less like a 
Parisian doll (this expression symbolised Julien's great ob- 
jection to the women of this city). 

" I shall relapse into some weakness for him," thought 
Mathilde ; " it is quite likely that he will think himself my lord 
and master after a relapse like that at the very moment that I 
have been talking to him so firmly." She ran away. 

" By heaven, she is pretty said julien as he watched her run 
and that's the creature who threw herself into my arms with so 


much passion scarcely a week ago . . . and to think that 
those moments will never come back ? And that it's my fault, 
to think of my being lacking in appreciation at the very 
moment when I was doing something so exrraordinarily 
interesting ! I must own that I was born with a very dull 
and unfortunate character." 

The marquis appeared ; Julien hastened to announce his 

11 Where to ? " said M. de la Mole. 

" For Languedoc." 

" No, if you please, you are reserved for higher destinies. 
If you leave it will be for the North. ... In military 
phraseology I actually confine you in the hotel. You will 
compel me to be never more than two or three hours away. 
I may have need of you at any moment." 

Julien bowed and retired without a word, leaving the marquis 
in a state of great astonishment. He was incapable of speaking. 
He shut himself up in his room. He was there free to 
exaggerate to himself all the awfulness of his fate. 

"So," he thought, "I cannot even get away. God knows 
how many days the marquis will keep me in Paris. Great 
God, what will become of me, and not a friend whom I can 
consult ? The abbe Pirard will never let me finish my first 
sentence, while the comte Altamira will propose enlisting me 
in some conspiracy. And yet I am mad ; I feel it, I am mad. 
Who will be able to guide me, what will become of me ? " 



And she confesses it to me ! She goes into even the 
smallest details ! Her beautiful eyes fixed on mine, and 
describes the love which she felt for another. Schiller. 

The delighted mademoiselle de la Mole thought of nothing 
but the happiness of having been nearly killed. She went so 
far as to say to herself, " he is worthy of being my master since 
he was on the point of killing me. How many handsome 
young society men would have to be melted together before 
they were capable of so passionate a transport." 

" I must admit that he was very handsome at the time 
when he climbed up on the chair to replace the sword in the 
same picturesque position in which the decorator hung it ! 
After all it was not so foolish of me to love him." 

If at that moment some honourable means of reconcilia- 
tion had presented itself, she would have embraced it with 
pleasure. Julien locked in his room was a prey to the most 
violent despair. He thought in his madness of throwing 
himself at her feet. If instead of hiding himself in an out of 
the way place, he had wandered about the garden of the hotel 
so as to keep within reach of any opportunity, he would 
perhaps have changed in a single moment his awful unhappi- 
ness into the keenest happiness. 

But the tact for whose lack we are now reproaching him 
would have been incompatible with that sublime seizure of 
the sword, which at the present time rendered him so handsome 
in the eyes of mademoiselle de la Mole. This whim in 
Julien's favour lasted the whole day; Mathilde conjured up 
a charming image of the short moments during which she had 
loved him : she regretted them. 


" As a matter of fact," she said to herself, " my passion for this 
poor boy can from his point of view only have lasted from one 
hour after midnight when I saw him arrive by his ladder with 
all his pistols in his coat pocket, till eight o'clock in the 
morning. It was a quarter of an hour after that as I listened 
to mass at Sainte-Valere that I began to think that he might 
very well try to terrify me into obedience." 

After dinner mademoiselle de la Mole, so far from avoiding 
Julien, spoke to him and made him promise to follow her into 
the garden. He obeyed. It was a new experience. 

Without suspecting it Mathilde was yielding to the love 
which she was now feeling for him again. She found an 
extreme pleasure in walking by his side, and she looked 
curiously at those hands which had seized the sword to kill her 
that very morning. 

After such an action, after all that had taken place, some of 
the former conversation was out of the question. 

Mathilde gradually began to talk confidentially to him about 
the state of her heart. She found a singular pleasure in this 
kind of conversation, she even went so far as to describe to 
him the fleeting moments of enthusiasm which she had 

experienced for M. de Croisenois, for M. de Caylus 

" What ! M. de Caylus as well ! " exclaimed Julien, and all 
the jealousy of a discarded lover burst out in those words, 
Mathilde thought as much, but did not feel at all insulted. 

She continued torturing Julien by describing her former 
sentiments with the most picturesque detail and the accent of 
the most intimate truth. He saw that she was portraying what 
she had in her mind's eye. He had the pain of noticing that 
as she spoke she made new discoveries in her own heart. 
The unhappiness of jealousy could not be carried further. 
It is cruel enough to suspect that a rival is loved, but there 
is no doubt that to hear the woman one adores confess in 
detail the love which rivals inspires, is the utmost limit of 

Oh, how great a punishment was there now for those 
impulses of pride which had induced Julien to place himself as 
superior to the Caylus and the Croisenois ! How deeply did 
he feel his own unhappiness as he exaggerated to himself their 
most petty advantages. With what hearty good faith he 
despised himself. 


Mathilde struck him as adorable. All words are weak to 
express his excessive admiration. As he walked beside her he 
looked surreptitiously at her hands, her arms, her queenly 
bearing. He was so completely overcome by love and un- 
happiness as to be on the point of falling at her feet and crying 
" pity." 

" Yes, and that person who is so beautiful, who is so superior 
to everything and who loved me once, will doubtless soon love 
M. de Caylus." 

Julien could have no doubts of mademoiselle de la Mole's 
sincerity, the accent of truth was only too palpable in every- 
thing she said. In order that nothing might be wanting to 
complete his unhappiness there were moments when, as a result 
of thinking about the sentiments which she had once 
experienced for M. de Caylus, Mathilde came to talk of him, 
as though she loved him at the present time. She certainly 
put an inflection of love into her voice. Julien distinguished 
it clearly. 

He would have suffered less if his bosom had been filled 
inside with molten lead. Plunged as he was in this abyss of 
unhappiness how could the poor boy have guessed that it was 
simply because she was talking to him, that mademoiselle de 
la Mole found so much pleasure in recalling those weaknesses 
of love which she had formerly experienced for M. de Caylus 
or M. de Luz. 

Words fail to express J ulien's anguish. He listened to these 
detailed confidences of the love she had experienced for others 
in that very avenue of pines where he had waited so few days 
ago for one o'clock to strike that he might invade her room. 
No human being can undergo a greater degree of unhappiness. 

This kind of familiar cruelty lasted for eight long days. 
Mathilde sometimes seemed to seek opportunities of speaking 
to him and sometimes not to avoid them ; and the one topic of 
conversation to which they both seemed to revert with a kind 
of cruel pleasure, was the description of the sentiments she had 
felt for others. She told him about the letters which she had 
written, she remembered their very words, she recited whole 
sentences by heart. 

She seemed during these last days to be envisaging Julien 
with a kind of malicious joy. She found a keen enjoyment in 
his pangs. 


One sees that Julien had no experience of life ; he had not 
even read any novels. If he had been a little less awkward and 
he had coolly said to the young girl, whom he adored so much 
and who had been giving him such strange confidences : 
" admit that though I am not worth as much as all these 
gentlemen, I am none the less the man whom you loved," she 
would perhaps have been happy at being at thus guessed ; at 
any rate success would have entirely depended on the grace 
with which Julien had expressed the idea, and on the moment 
which he had chosen to do so. In any case he would have 
extricated himself well and advantageously from a situation 
which Mathilde was beginning to find monotonous. 

" And you love me no longer, me, who adore you ! " said 
Julien to her one day, overcome by love and unhappiness. 
This piece of folly was perhaps the greatest which he could have 
committed. These words immediately destroyed all the 
pleasure which mademoiselle de la Mole found in talking to 
him about the state of her heart. She was beginning to be 
surprised that he did not, after what had happened, take offence 
at what she told him. She had even gone so far as to imagine 
at the very moment when he made that foolish remark that 
perhaps he did not love her any more. " His pride has doubt- 
less extinguished his love," she was saying to herself. " He is 
not the man to sit still and see people like Caylus, de Luz, 
Croisenois whom he admits are so superior, preferred to him. 
No, I shall never see him at my feet again." 

Julien had often in the naivety of his unhappiness, during 
the previous days praised sinctrely the brilliant qualities of 
these gentlemen ; he would even go so far as to exaggerate 
them. This nuance had not escaped mademoiselle de la 
Mole, she was astonished by it, but did not guess its reason. 
Julien's frenzied soul, in praising a rival whom he thought was 
loved, was sympathising with his happiness. 

These frank but stupid words changed everything in a single 
moment ; confident that she was loved, Mathilde despised him 

She was walking with him when he made his ill-timed 
remark ; she left him, and her parting look expressed the most 
awful contempt. She returned to the salon and did not look 
at him again during the whole evening. This contempt 
monopolised her mind the following day. The impulse which 


during the last week had made her find so much pleasure in 
treating Julien as her most intimate friend was out of the 
question ; the very sight of him was disagreeable. The 
sensation Mathilde felt reached the point of disgust ; nothing 
can express the extreme contempt which she experienced when 
her eyes fell upon him. 

Julien had understood nothing of the history of Mathilde's 
heart during the last week, but he distinguished the contempt. 
He had the good sense only to appear before her on the rarest 
possible occasions, and never looked at her. 

But it was not without a mortal anguish that he, as it were, 
deprived himself of her presence. He thought he felt his un- 
happiness increasing still further. " The courage of a man's 
heart cannot be carried further," he said to himself. He passed 
his life seated at a little window at the top of the hotel ; the 
blind was carefully closed, and from here at anyrate he could 
see mademoiselle de la Mole when she appeared in the garden. 

What were his emotions when he saw her walking after 
dinner with M. de Caylus, M. de Luz, or some other for whom 
she had confessed to him some former amorous weakness ! 

Julien had no idea that unhappiness could be so intense ; 
he was on the point of shouting out. This firm soul was at 
last completely overwhelmed. 

Thinking about anything else except mademoiselle de la 
Mole had become odious to him ; he became incapable of 
writing the simplest letters. 

" You are mad," the marquis said to him. 

Julien was frightened that his secret might be guessed, talked 
about illness and succeeded in being believed. Fortunately 
for him the marquis rallied him at dinner about his next 
journey; Mathilde understood that it might be a very long 
one. It was now several days that Julien had avoided her, 
and the brilliant young men who had all that this pale sombre 
being she had once loved was lacking, had no longer the 
power of drawing her out of her reverie. 

,c An ordinary girl," she said to herself, " would have sought 
out the man she preferred among those young people who are 
the cynosure of a salon ; but one of the characteristics of 
genius is not to drive its thoughts over the rut traced by the 

" Why, if I were the companion of a man like Julien, who 


only lacks the fortune that I possess, I should be continually 
exciting attention, I should not pass through life unnoticed. 
Far from incessantly fearing a revolution like my cousins who 
are so frightened of the people that they have not the pluck to 
scold a postillion who drives them badly, I should be certain 
of playing a role and a great role, for the man whom I have 
chosen has a character and a boundless ambition. What does 
he lack? Friends, money? I will give them him." But she 
treated Julien in her thought as an inferior being whose love 
one could win whenever one wanted. 



How the spring of love resembleth 

The uncertain glory of an April day, 
Whicli now shows all the beauty of the sun, 

And by and by a cloud takes all away. Shakespeare. 

Engrossed by thoughts of her future and the singular role 
which she hoped to play, Mathilde soon came to miss the 
dry metaphysical conversations which she had often had with 
Julien. Fatigued by these lofty thoughts she would sometimes 
also miss those moments of happiness which she had found by 
his side ; these last memories were not unattended by remorse 
which at certain times even overwhelmed her. 

" But one may have a weakness," she said to herself, " a girl 
like I am should only forget herself for a man of real merit ; 
they will not say that it is his pretty moustache or his skill in 
horsemanship which have fascinated me, but rather his deep 
discussions on the future of France and his ideas on the an- 
alogy between the events which are going to burst upon us 
and the English revolution of 1688." 

" I have been seduced," she answered in her remorse. " I am 
a weak woman, but at least I have not been led astray like a 
doll by exterior advantages." 

" If there is a revolution why should not Julien Sorel play 
the role of Roland and I the r61e of Madame Roland? I 
prefer that part to Madame de Stael's ; the immorality of my 
conduct will constitute an obstacle in this age of ours. I will 
certainly not let them reproach me with an act of weakness ; 
I should die of shame." 

Mathilde's reveries were not all as grave, one must admit, 
as the thoughts which we have just transcribed 


She would look at Julien and find a charming grace in hi 
slightest action. 

" I have doubtless," she would say, " succeeded in destroy- 
ing in him the very faintest idea he had of any one else's 

" The air of unhappiness and deep passion with which the 
poor boy declared his love to me eight days ago proves it ; I 
must own it was very extraordinary of me to manifest anger 
at words in which there shone so much respect and so much of 
passion. Ami not his real wife ? Those words of his were quite 
natural, and I must admit, were really very nice. Julien still 
continued to love me, even after those eternal conversations 
in which I had only spoken to him (cruelly enough I admit), 
about those weaknesses of love which the boredom of the life 
I lead had inspired me for those young society men of whom 
he is so jealous. Ah, if he only knew what little danger I 
have to fear from them ; how withered and stereotyped they 
seem to me in comparison with him." 

While indulging in these reflections Mathilde made a random 
pencil sketch of a profile on a page of her album. One of the 
profiles she had just finished surprised and delighted her. It 
had a striking resemblance to Julien. " It is the voice of 
heaven. That's one of the miracles of love," she cried 
ecstatically ; " Without suspecting it, I have drawn his 

She fled to her room, shut herself up in it, and with much 
application made strenuous endeavours to draw Julien's 
portrait, but she was unable to succeed ; the profile she had 
traced at random still remained the most like him. Mathilde 
was delighted with it. She saw in it a palpable proof of the 
grand passion. 

She only left her album very late when the marquise had 
her called to go to the Italian Opera. Her one idea was to 
catch sight of Julien, so that she might get her mother to 
request him to keep them company. 

He did not appear, and the ladies had only ordinary vulgar 
creatures in their box. During the first act of the opera, 
Mathilde dreamt of the man she loved with all the ecstasies of 
the most vivid passion ; but a love-maxim in the second act 
sung it must be owned to a melody worthy of Cimarosa 
pierced her heart. The heroine of the opera said "You must 


punish me for the excessive adoration which I feel for him. 
I love him too much." 

From the moment that Mathilde heard this sublime song 
everything in the world ceased to exist. She was spoken to, 
she did not answer ; her mother reprimanded her, she could 
scarcely bring herself to look at her. Her ecstasy reached a 
state of" exultation and passion analogous to the most violent 
transports which Julien had felt for her for some days. The 
divinely graceful melody to which the maxim, which seemed 
to have such a striking application to her own position, was 
sung, engrossed all the minutes when she was not actually 
thinking of Julien. Thanks to her love for music she was on 
this particular evening like madame de Renal always was, 
when she thought of Julien. Love of the head has doubtless 
more intelligence than true love, but it only has moments of 
enthusiasm. It knows itself too well, it sits in judgment on 
itself incessantly ; far from distracting thought it is made by 
sheer force of thought. 

On returning home Mathilde, in spite of Madame de la 
Mole's remonstrances, pretended to have a fever and spent a 
part of the night in going over this melody on her piano. She 
sang the words of the celebrated air which had so fascinated 
her : 

Devo punirmi, devo punirmi. 
Se troppo amai, etc. 

As the result of this night of madness, she imagined that 
she had succeeded in triumphing over her love. This page 
will be prejudicial in more than one way to the unfortunate 
author. Frigid souls will accuse him of indecency. But the 
young ladies who shine in the Paris salons have no right to 
feel insulted at the supposition that one of their number might 
be liable to those transports of madness which have been de- 
grading the character of Mathilde. That character is purely 
imaginary, and is even drawn quite differently from that social 
code which will guarantee so distinguished a place in the 
world's history to nineteenth century civilization. 

The young girls who have adorned this winter's balls are 
certainly not lacking in prudence. 

I do not think either that they can be accused of being un- 
duly scornful of a brilliant fortune, horses, fine estates and all 


the guarantees of a pleasant position in society. Far from 
finding these advantages simply equivalent to boredom, they 
usually concentrate on them their most constant desires and 
and devote to them such passion as their hearts possess. 

Nor again is it love which is the dominant principle in the 
career of young men who, like Julien, are gifted with some 
talent; they attach themselves with an irresistible grip to 
some coterie, and when the coterie succeeds all the good 
things of society are rained upon them. Woe to the studious 
man who belongs to no coterie, even his smallest and most 
doubtful successes will constitute a grievance, and lofty virtue 
will rob him and triumph. Yes, monsieur, a novel is a mirror 
which goes out on a highway. Sometimes it reflects the azure 
of the heavens, sometimes the mire of the pools of mud on 
the way, and the man who carries this mirror in his knapsack 
is forsooth to be accused by you of being immoral ! His 
mirror shows the mire, and you accuse the mirror ! Rather 
accuse the main road where the mud is, or rather the 
inspector of roads who allows the water to accumulate and 
the mud to form. 

Now that it is quite understood that Mathilde's character 
is impossible in our own age, which is as discreet as it is 
virtuous, I am less frightened of offence by continuing the 
history of the follies of this charming girl. 

During the whole of the following day she looked out for 
opportunities of convincing herself of her triumph over her 
mad passion. Her great aim was to displease Julien in 
everything ; but not one of his movements escaped her. 

Julien was too unhappy, and above all too agitated to 
appreciate so complicated a stratagem of passion. Still less 
was he capable of seeing how favourable it really was to him. 
He was duped by it. His unhappiness had perhaps never 
been so extreme. His actions were so little controlled by his 
intellect that if some mournful philosopher had said to him, 
" Think how to exploit as quickly as you can those symptoms 
which promise to be favourable to you. In this kind of head- 
love which is seen at Paris, the same mood cannot 1 ast more 
than two days," he would not have understood him. But 
however ecstatic he might feel, Julien was a man of honour. 
Discretion was his first duty. He appreciated it. Asking 
advice, describing his agony to the first man who came along 


would have constituted a happiness analogous to that of the 
unhappy man who, when traversing a burning desert receives 
from heaven a drop of icy water. He realised the danger, 
was frightened of answering an indiscreet question by a 
torrent of tears, and shut himself up in his own room. 

He saw Mathilde walking in the garden for a long time. 
When she at last left it, he went down there and approached 
the rose bush from which she had taken a flower. 

The night was dark and he could abandon himself to his 
unhappiness without fear of being seen. It was obvious to 
him that mademoiselle de la Mole loved one of those young 
officers with whom she had chatted so gaily. She had loved 
him, but she had realised his little merit, " and as a matter of 
fact I had very little," Julien said to himself with full con- 
viction. " Taking me all round I am a very dull, vulgar 
person, very boring to others and quite unbearable to myself." 
He was mortally disgusted with all his good qualities, and 
with all the things which he had once loved so enthusiastically ; 
and it was when his imagination was in this distorted condition 
that he undertook to judge life by means of its aid. This 
mistake is typical of a superior man. 

The idea of suicide presented itself to him several times ; 
the idea was full of charm, and like a delicious rest ; because 
it was the glass of iced water offered to the wretch dying of 
thirst and heat in the desert. 

" My death will increase the contempt she has for me," he 
exclaimed. " What a memory I should leave her." 

Courage is the only resource of a human being who has 
fallen into this last abyss of unhappiness. Julien did not 
have sufficient genius to say to himself, " I must dare," but 
as he looked at the window of Mathilde's room he saw 
through the blinds that she was putting out her light. He 
conjured up that charming room which he had seen, alas ! 
once in his whole life. His imagination did not go any 

One o'clock struck. Hearing the stroke of the clock and 
saying to himself, " I will climb up the ladder," scarcely 
took a moment. 

It was the flash of genius, good reasons crowded on his 
mind. " May I be more fortunate than before," he said to 
himself. He ran to the ladder. The gardener had chained 


it up. With the help of the cock of one of his little pistols 
which he broke, Julien, who for the time being was animated 
by a superhuman force, twisted one of the links of the chain 
which held the ladder. He was master of it in a few minutes, 
and placed it against Mathilde's window. 

" She will be angry and riddle me with scornful words ! 
What does it matter ? I will give her a kiss, one last kiss. I 
will go up to my room and kill myself . . . my lips will 
touch her cheek before I die." 

He flew up the ladder and knocked at the blind ; Mathilde 
heard him after some minutes and tried to open the blind but 
the ladder was in the way. Julien hung to the iron hook 
intending to keep the blind open, and at the imminent risk of 
falling down, gave the ladder a violent shake which moved it 
a little. Mathilde was able to open the blind. 

He threw himself into the window more dead than alive. 

" So it is you, dear," she said as she rushed into his arms. 

The excess of Julien's happiness was indescribable. 
Mathilde's almost equalled his own. 

She talked against herself to him and denounced herself. 

" Punish me for my awful pride," she said to him, clasping 
him in her arms so tightly as almost to choke him. " You 
are my master, dear, I am your slave. I must ask your pardon 
on my knees for having tried to rebel." She left his arms to 
fall at his feet. " Yes," she said to him, still intoxicated with 
happiness and with love, " you are my master, reign over me 
for ever. When your slave tries to revolt, punish her severely." 

In another moment she tore herself from his arms, and 
lit a candle, and it was only by a supreme effort that Julien 
could prevent her from cutting off a whole tress of her hair. 

" I want to remind myself," she said to him, " that I am 
your handmaid. If I am ever led astray again by my 
abominable pride, show me this hair and say, * It is not a 
question of the emotion which your soul may be feeling at 
present, you have sworn to obey, obey on your honour." 

But it is wiser to suppress the description of so intense a 
transport of delirious happiness. 

Julien's unselfishness was equal to his happiness. " I must 
go down by the ladder," he said to Mathilde, when he saw 
the dawn of day appear from the quarter of the east over the 


distant chimneys beyond the garden. " The sacrifice that I 
impose on myself is worthy of you. I deprive myself of some 
hours of the most astonishing happiness that a human soul 
can savour, but it is a sacrifice I make for the sake of your 
reputation. If you know my heart you will appreciate how 
violent is the strain to which I am putting myself. Will you 
always be to me what you are now ? But honour speaks, it 
suffices. Let me tell you that since our last interview, thieves 
have not been the only object of suspicion. M. de la Mole 
has set a guard in the garden. M. Croisenois is surrounded 
by spies : they know what he does every night." 

Mathilde burst out laughing at this idea. Her mother and 
a chamber-maid were woken up, they suddenly began to 
speak to her through the door. Julien looked at her, she 
grew pale as she scolded the chamber-maid, and she did not 
deign to speak to her mother. " But suppose they think of 
opening the window, they will see the ladder," Julien said to 

He clasped her again in his arms, rushed on to the ladder, 
and slid, rather than climbed down ; he was on the ground 
in a moment. 

Three seconds after the ladder was in the avenue of pines, 
and Mathilde's honour was saved. Julien returned to his 
room and found that he was bleeding and almost naked. He 
had wounded himself in sliding down in that dare-devil 

Extreme happiness had made him regain all the energy of 
his character. If twenty men had presented themselves it 
would have proved at this moment only an additional pleasure 
to have attacked them unaided. Happily his military prowess 
was not put to the proof. He laid the ladder in its usual 
place and replaced the chain which held it. He did not 
forget to efface the mark which the ladder had left on the 
bed of exotic flowers under Mathilde's window. 

As he was moving his hand over the soft ground in the 
darkness and satisfying himself that the mark had entirely dis- 
appeared, he felt something fall down on his hands. It was a 
whole tress of Mathilde's hair which she had cut off and thrown 
down to him. 

She was at the window. 

" That's what your servant sends you," she said to him in a 



fairly loud voice, "It is the sign of eternal gratitude. I re- 
nounce the exercise of my reason, be my master." 

Julien was quite overcome and was on the point of going to 
fetch the ladder again and climbing back into her room. 
Finally reason prevailed. 

Getting back into the hotel from the garden was not easy. 
He succeeded in forcing the door of a cellar. Once in the 
house he was obliged to break through the door of his room 
as silently as possible. In his agitation he had left in the 
little room which he had just abandoned so rapidly, the key 
which was in the pocket of his coat. " I only hope she thinks 
of hiding that fatal trophy," he thought. 

Finally fatigue prevailed over happiness, and as the sun was 
rising he fell into a deep sleep. 

The breakfast bell only just managed to wake him up. He 
appeared in the dining-room. Shortly afterwards Mathilde 
came in. Julien's pride felt deliciously flattered as he saw the 
love which shone in the eyes of this beautiful creature who was 
surrounded by so much homage; but soon his discretion had 
occasion to be alarmed. 

Making an excuse of the little time that she had had to do 
her hair, Mathilde had arranged it in such a way that Julien 
could see at the first glance the full extent of the sacrifice that 
she had made for his sake, by cutting off her hair on the 
previous night. 

If it had been possible to spoil so beautiful a face by any- 
thing whatsoever, Mathilde would have succeeded in doing it. 
A whole tress of her beautiful blonde hair was cut off to within 
half an inch of the scalp. 

Mathilde's whole manner during breakfast was in keeping 
with this initial imprudence. One might have said that she 
had made a specific point of trying to inform the whole world 
of her mad passion for Julien. Happily on this particular day 
M. de la Mole and the marquis were very much concerned 
about an approaching bestowal of " blue ribbons " which was 
going to take place, and in which M. de Chaulnes was not 
comprised. Towards the end of the meal, Mathilde, who was 
talking to Julien, happened to call him " My Master." He 
blushed up to the whites of his eyes. 

Mathilde was not left alone for an instant that day, 
whether by chance or the deliberate policy of madame de la 


Mole. In the evening when she passed from the dining-room 
into the salon, however, she managed to say to Julien : "You 
may be thinking I am making an excuse, but mamma has just 
decided that one of her women is to spend the night in my 

This day passed with lightning rapidity. Julien was at 
the zenith of happiness. At seven o'clock in the morning of 
the following day he installed himself in the library. He 
hoped the mademoiselle de la Mole would deign to appear 
there; he had written her an interminable letter. He only 
saw her several hours afterwards at breakfast. Her hair was 
done to-day with the very greatest care ; a marvellous art had 
managed to hide the place where the hair had been cut. She 
looked at Julien once or twice, but her eyes were polite and 
calm, and there was no question of calling him " My Master." 

Julien's astonishment prevented him from breathing 
Mathilde was reproaching herself for all she had done for him. 
After mature reflection, she had come to the conclusion that 
he was a person who, though not absolutely commonplace, 
was yet not sufficiently different from the common ruck to 
deserve all the strange follies that she had ventured for his 
sake. To sum up she did not give love a single thought ; on 
this particular day she was tired of loving. 

As for Julien, his emotions were those of a child of sixteen. 
He was a successive prey to awful doubt, astonishment and 
despair during this breakfast which he thought would never 

As soon as he could decently get up from the table, he flew 
rather than ran to the stable, saddled his horse himself, and 
galloped off. " I must kill my heart through sheer force of 
physical fatigue," he said to himself as he galloped through 
the Meudon woods. " What have I done, what have I said to 
deserve a disgrace like this ? " 

" I must do nothing and say nothing to-day," he thought as 
he re-entered the hotel. " I must be as dead physically as I 
am morally." Julien saw nothing any more, it was only his 
corpse which kept moving. 



His heart does not first realise the full extremity of his unhappi- 
ness : he is more troubled than moved. But as reason returns he 
feels the depth of his misfortune. All the pleasures of life seem 
to have been destroyed, he can only feel the sharp barbs of a 
lacerating despair. But what is the use of talking of physical 
pain ? What pain which is only felt by the body can be com- 
pared to this pain 1Jean Paul. 

The dinner bell rang, Julien had barely time to dress : he 
found Mathilde in the salon. She was pressing her brother 
and M. de Croisenois to promise her that they would not go 
and spend the evening at Suresnes with madame the marechale 
de Fervaques. 

It would have been difficult to have shown herself more 
amiable or fascinating to them. M. de Luz, de Caylus and 
several of their friends came in after dinner. One would have 
said that mademoiselle de la Mole had commenced again to 
cultivate the most scrupulous conventionality at the same time 
as her sisterly affection. Although the weather was delightful 
this evening, she refused to go out into the garden, and in- 
sisted on their all staying near the arm-chair where madame 
de la Mole was sitting. The blue sofa was the centre of the 
group as it had been in the winter. 

Mathilde was out of temper with the garden, or at any rate 
she found it absolutely boring : it was bound up with the 
memory of Julien. 

Unhappiness blunts the edge of the intellect. Our hero 
had the bad taste to stop by that little straw chair which had 
formerly witnessed his most brilliant triumphs. To-day none 
spoke to him, his presence seemed to be unnoticed, and worse 
than that. Those of mademoiselle de la Mole's friends who 


were sitting near him at the end of the sofa, made a point of 
somehow or other turning their back on him, at any rate he 
thought so. 

" It is a court disgrace," he thought. He tried to study 
for a moment the people who were endeavouring to overwhelm 
him with their contempt. M. de Luz had an important post 
in the King's suite, the result of which was that the handsome 
officer began every conversation with every listener who came 
along by telling him this special piece of information. His 
uncle had started at seven o'clock for St. Cloud and reckoned 
on spending the night there. This detail was introduced with 
all the appearance of good nature but it never failed to be 
worked in. As Julien scrutinized M. de Croisenois with a 
stern gaze of unhappiness, he observed that this good amiable 
young man attributed a great influence to occult causes. He 
even went so far as to become melancholy and out of temper 
if he saw an event of the slightest importance ascribed to a 
simple and perfectly natural cause. 

" There is an element of madness in this," Julien said to 
himself. This man's character has a striking analogy with 
that of the Emperor Alexander, such as the Prince Korasoff 
described it to me. During the first year of his stay in Paris 
poor Julien, fresh from the seminary and dazzled by the graces 
of all these amiable young people, whom he found so novel, 
had felt bound to admire them. Their true character was only 
beginning to become outlined in his eyes. 

" I am playing an undignified role here," he suddenly 
thought. The question was, how he could leave the little 
straw chair without undue awkwardness. He wanted to invent 
something, and tried to extract some novel excuse from an 
imagination which was otherwise engrossed. He was com- 
pelled to fall back on his memory, which was, it must be 
owned, somewhat poor in resources of this kind. 

The poor boy was still very much out of his element, and 
could not have exhibited a more complete and noticeable 
awkwardness when he got up to leave the salon. His misery 
was only too palpable in his whole manner. He had been 
playing, for the last three quarters of an hour, the role of an 
officious inferior from whom one does not take the trouble to 
hide what one really thinks. 

The critical observations he had just made on his rivals 


prevented him, however, from taking his own unhappiness too 
tragically. His pride could take support in what had taken 
place the previous day. " Whatever may be their advantages 
over me," he thought, as he went into the garden alone, 
" Mathilde has never been to a single one of them what, twice 
in my life, she has deigned to be to me ! " His penetration 
did not go further. He absolutely failed to appreciate the 
character of the extraordinary person whom chance had just 
made the supreme mistress of all his happiness. 

He tried, on the following day, to make himself and his 
horse dead tired with fatigue. He made no attempt in the 
evening to go near the blue sofa to which Mathilde remained 
constant. He noticed that comte Norbert did not even 
deign to look at him when he met him about the house. 
" He must be doing something very much against the grain," 
he thought ; " he is naturally so polite." 

Sleep would have been a happiness to Julien. In spite of 
his physical fatigue, memories which were only too seductive 
commenced to invade his imagination. He had not the 
genius to see that, inasmuch as his long rides on horseback 
over forests on the outskirts of Paris only affected him, and 
had no affect at all on Mathilde's heart or mind, he was 
consequently leaving his eventual destiny to the caprice of 
chance. He thought that one thing would give his pain an 
infinite relief: it would be to speak to Mathilde. Yet what 
would he venture to say to her ? 

He was dreaming deeply about this at seven o'clock one 
morning when he suddenly saw her enter the library. 

" I know, monsieur, that you are anxious to speak to me." 
" Great heavens ! who told you ? " 

" I know, anyway ; that is enough. If you are dishonour- 
able, you can ruin me, or at least try to. But this danger, 
which I do not believe to be real, will certainly not prevent 
me from being sincere. I do not love you any more, monsieur, 
I have been led astray by my foolish imagination." 

Distracted by love and unhappiness, as a result of this 
terrible blow, Julien tried to justify himself. Nothing could 
have been more absurd. Does one make any excuses for 
failure to please ? But reason had no longer any control over 
his actions. A blind instinct urged him to get the determina- 
tion of his fate postponed. He thought that, so long as he 


kept on speaking, all could not be over. Mathilde had not 
listened to his words; their sound irritated her. She could 
not conceive how he could have the audacity to interrupt her. 

She was rendered equally unhappy this morning by remorse- 
ful virtue and remorseful pride. She felt to some extent 
pulverised by the idea of having given a little abbe, who was 
the son of a peasant, rights over her. " It is almost," she said 
to herself, in those moments when she exaggerated her own 
misfortune, " as though I had a weakness for one of my 
footmen to reproach myself with." In bold, proud natures 
there is only one step from anger against themselves to wrath 
against others. In these cases the very transports of fury 
constitute a vivid pleasure. 

In a single minute mademoiselle de la Mole reached the 
point of loading Julien with the signs of the most extreme 
contempt. She had infinite wit, and this wit was always 
triumphant in the art of torturing vanity and wounding it 

For the first time in his life Julien found himself subjected 
to the energy of a superior intellect, which was animated 
against him by the most violent hate. Far from having at 
present the slightest thought of defending himself, he came to 
despise himself. Hearing himself overwhelmed with such 
marks of contempt which were so cleverly calculated to destroy 
any good opinion that he might have of himself, he thought 
that Mathilde was right, and that she did not say enough. 

As for her, she found it deliciously gratifying to her pride 
to punish in this way both herself and him for the adoration 
that she had felt some days previously. 

She did not have to invent and improvise the cruel remarks 
which she addressed to him with so much gusto. 

All she had to do was to repeat what the advocate of the 
other side had been saying against her love in her own heart 
for the last eight days. 

Each word intensified a hundredfold Julien's awful unhappi- 
ness. He wanted to run away, but mademoiselle de la Mole 
took hold of his arm authoritatively. 

" Be good enough to remark," he said to her, " that you are 
talking very loud. You will be heard in the next room." 

"What does it matter?" mademoiselle de la Mole answered 
haughtily. " Who will dare to say they have heard me ? I 


want to cure your miserable vanity once and for all of any 
ideas you may have indulged in on my account." 

When Julien was allowed to leave the library he was so 
astonished that he was less sensitive to his unhappiness. 
"She does not love me any more," he repeated to himself, 
speaking aloud as though to teach himself how he stood. " It 
seems that she has loved me eight or ten days, but I shall love 
her all my life." 

" Is it really possible she was nothing to me, nothing to my 
heart so few days back ? " 

Mathilde's heart was inundated by the joy of satisfied pride. 
So she had been able to break with him for ever ! So complete 
a triumph over so strong an inclination rendered her completely 
happy. "So this little gentleman will understand, once and 
for all, that he has not, and will never have, any dominion 
over me." She was so happy that in reality she ceased to 
love at this particular moment. 

In a less passionate being than Julien love would have 
become impossible after a scene of such awful humiliation. 
Without deviating for a single minute from the requirements of 
her own self-respect, mademoiselle de la Mole had addressed 
to him some of those unpleasant remarks which are so well 
thought out that they may seem true, even when remembered 
in cold blood. 

The conclusion which Julien drew in the first moment of so 
surprising a scene, was that Mathilde was infinitely proud. 
He firmly believed that all was over between them for ever, 
and none the less, he was awkward and nervous towards her 
at breakfast on the following day. This was a fault from 
which up to now he had been exempt. 

Both in small things as in big it was his habit to know what 
he ought and wanted to do, and he used to act accordingly. 

The same day after breakfast madame de la Mole asked 
him for a fairly rare, seditious pamphlet which her cure had 
surreptitiously brought her in the morning, and Julien, as he 
took it from a bracket, knocked over a blue porcelain vase 
which was as ugly as it could possibly be. 

Madame de la Mole got up, uttering a cry of distress, and 
proceeded to contemplate at close quarters the ruins of her 
beloved vase. " It was old Japanese," she said. " It came 
to me from my great aunt, the abbess of Chelles. It was a 


present from the Dutch to the Regent, the Duke of Orleans, 
who had given it to his daughter. . . ." 

Mathilde had followed her mother's movements, and felt 
delighted at seeing that the blue vase, that she had thought 
horribly ugly, was broken. Julien was taciturn, and not un- 
duly upset. He saw mademoiselle de la Mole quite near him. 

"This vase," he said to her, "has been destroyed for ever. 
The same is the case with the sentiment which was once 
master of my heart. I would ask you to accept my apologies 
for all the pieces of madness which it has made me commit." 
And he went out. 

" One would really say," said madame de la Mole, as he 
went out of the room, " that this M. Sorel is quite proud of 
what he has just done." 

These words went right home to Mathilde's heart. " It is 
true," she said to herself; " my mother has guessed right. 
That is the sentiment which animates him." It was only then 
that she ceased rejoicing over yesterday's scene. " Well, it is 
all over," she said to herself, with an apparent calm. " It is 
a great lesson, anyway. It is an awful and humiliating 
mistake ! It is enough to make me prudent all the rest of 
my life." 

" Why didn't I speak the truth ? " thought Julien. " Why 
am I still tortured by the love which I once had for that mad 
woman ? " 

Far, however, from being extinguished as he had hoped it 
would be, his love grew more and more rapidly. " She is mad, 
it is true," he said to himself. " Is she any the less adorable 
for that ? Is it possible for anyone to be prettier ? Is not 
mademoiselle de la Mole the ideal quintessence of all the most 
vivid pleasures of the most elegant civilisation?" These 
memories of a bygone happiness seized hold of Julien's mind, 
and quickly proceeded to destroy all the work of his reason. 

It is in vain that reason wrestles with memories of this 
character. Its stern struggles only increase the fascination. 

Twenty-four hours after the breaking of the Japanese vase, 
Julien was unquestionably one of the most unhappy men in 
the world. 



I have seen everything I relate, and if I may have 
made a mistake when I saw it, I am certainly not de- 
ceiving you in telling you of it. 

Letter to the author. 

The marquis summoned him; M. de la Mole looked re- 
juvenated, his eye was brilliant. 

" Let us discuss your memory a little," he said to Julien, 
" it is said to be prodigious. Could you learn four pages by 
heart and go and say them at London, but without altering 
a single word ? " 

The marquis was irritably fingering, the day's Quottdienne, 
and was trying in vain to hide an extreme seriousness which 
Julien had never noticed in him before, even when discussing 
the Frilair lawsuit. 

Julien had already learned sufficient manners to appreciate 
that he ought to appear completely taken in by the lightness 
of tone which was being manifested. 

" This number of the Quottdienne is not very amusing 
possibly, but if M. the marquis will allow me, I shall do myself 
the honour to-morrow morning of reciting it to him from 
beginning to end." 

"What, even the advertisements?" 

" Quite accurately and without leaving out a word." 

" You give me your word ? " replied the marquis with sudden 

" Yes, monsieur ; the only thing which could upset my 
memory is the fear of breaking my promise." 

" The fact is, I forgot to put this question to you yesterday : 
I am not going to ask for your oath never to repeat what you 


are going to hear. I know you too well to insult you like 
that. I have answered for you. I am going to take you into 
a salon where a dozen persons will he assembled. You will 
make a note of what each one says. 

" Do not be uneasy. It will not be a confused conversation 
by any means. Each one will speak in his turn, though not 
necessarily in an orderly manner," added the marquis falling 
back into that light, subtle manner which was so natural to 
him. "While we are talking, you will write out twenty pages 
and will come back here with me, and we will get those twenty 
pages down to four, and those are the four pages you will 
recite to me to-morrow morning instead of the four pages 
of the Quotidienne. You will leave immediately afterwards. 
You must post about like a young man travelling on pleasure. 
Your aim will be to avoid attracting attention. You will 
arrive at the house of a great personage. You will there need 
more skill. Your business will then be to take in all his 
entourage, for among his secretaries and his servants are some 
people who have sold themselves to our enemies, and who spy 
on our travelling agents in order to intercept them. 

" You will have an insignificant letter of introduction. At 
the moment his Excellency looks at you, you will take out 
this watch of mine, which I will lend you for the journey. 
Wear it now, it will be so much done ; at any rate give me 

" The duke himself will be good enough to write at your 
dictation the four pages you have learnt by heart. 

" Having done this, but not earlier, mind you, you can, if 
his Excellency questions you, tell him about the meeting at 
which you are now going to be present. 

" You will be prevented from boring yourself on the journey 
between Paris and the minister's residence by the thought 
that there are people who would like nothing better than to 
fire a shot at M. the abbe Sorel. In that case that gentleman's 
mission will be finished, and I see a great delay, for how are 
we to know of your death, my dear friend ? Even your zeal 
cannot go to the length of informing us of it. 

" Run straight away and buy a complete suit," went on the 
marquis seriously. " Dress in the fashion of two years ago. 
To-night you must look somewhat badly groomed. When you 
travel, on the other hand, you will be as usual. Does this 


surprise you ? Does your suspiciousness guess the secret ? 
Yes, my friend, one of the venerable personages you are going 
to hear deliver his opinion, is perfectly capable of giving 
information as the result of which you stand a very good 
chance of being given at least opium some fine evening in 
some good inn where you will have asked for supper." 

" It is better," said Julien, " to do an extra thirty leagues 
and not take the direct road. It is a case of Rome, I 

suppose " The marquis assumed an expression of 

extreme haughtiness and dissatisfaction which Julien had never 
seen him wear since Bray-le-Haut. 

" That is what you will know, monsieur, when I think it 
proper to tell you. I do not like questions." 

" That was not one," answered Julien eagerly. " I swear, 
monsieur, I was thinking quite aloud. My mind was trying 
to find out the safest route." 

" Yes, it seems your mind was a very long way off. Re- 
member that an emissary, and particularly one of your age 
should not appear to be a man who forces confidences." 

Julien was very mortified; he was in the wrong. His vanity 
tried to find an excuse and did not find one. 

" You understand," added monsieur de la Mole, " that one 
always falls back on one's heart when one has committed some 

An hour afterwards Julien was in the marquis's ante- 
chamber. He looked quite like a servant with his old 
clothes, a tie of a dubious white, and a certain touch of the 
usher in his whole appearance. The marquis burst out 
laughing as he saw him, and it was only then that Julien's 
justification was complete. 

" If this young man betrays me," said M. de la Mole to 
himself, " whom is one to trust ? And yet, when one acts, 
one must trust someone. My son and his brilliant friends of 
the same calibre have as much courage and loyalty as a 
hundred thousand men. If it were necessary to fight, they 
would die on the steps of the throne. They know everything 
except what one needs in emergency. Devil take me if I 
can find a single one among them who can learn four pages 
by heart and do a hundred leagues without being tracked 
down. Norbert would know how to sell his life as dearly as 
his grandfathers did. But any conscript could do as much." 


The marquis fell into a profound reverie. " As for selling 
one's life too," he said with a sigh, " perhaps this Sorel would 
manage it quite as well as he could. 

" Let us get into the carriage," said the marquis as though 
to chase away an unwanted idea. 

" Monsieur," said Julien, " while they were getting this suit 
ready for me, I learnt the first page of to-days Quotidienne by 

The marquis took the paper. Julien recited it without 
making a single mistake. " Good," said the marquis, who 
this night felt very diplomatic. " During the time he takes 
over this our young man will not notice the streets through 
which we are passing." 

They arrived in a big salon that looked melancholy enough 
and was partly upholstered in green velvet. In the middle of 
the room a scowling lackey had just placed a big dining-table 
which he subsequently changed into a writing-table by means 
of an immense green inkstained tablecloth which had been 
plundered from some minister. 

The master of the house was an enormous man whose name 
was not pronounced. Julien thought he had the appearance 
and eloquence of a man who ruminated. At a sign from the 
marquis, Julien had remained at the lower end of the table. 
In order to keep himself in countenance, he began to cut 
quills. He counted out of the corner of his eye seven visitors, 
but Julien could only see their backs. Two seemed to him 
to be speaking to M. de la Mole on a footing of equality, the 
others seemed more or less respectful. 

A new person entered without being announced. " This 
is strange," thought Julien. " People are not announced 
in this salon. Is this precaution taken in my honour ? " 
Everybody got up to welcome the new arrival. He wore the 
same extremely distinguished decoration as three of the other 
persons who were in the salon. They talked fairly low. In 
endeavouring to form an opinion of the new comer, Julien 
was reduced to seeing what he could learn from his features 
and his appeareance. He was short and thick-set. He had 
a high colour and a brilliant eye and an expression that 
looked like a malignant boar, and nothing else. 

Julien's attention was partly distracted by the almost 
immediate arrival of a very different kind of person. It was a 


a tall very thin man who wore three or four waistcoats. His 
eye was caressing, his demeanour polite. 

" He looks exactly like the old bishop of Besancon," thought 
Julien. This man evidently belonged to the church, was 
apparently not more than fifty to fifty-five years of age, and 
no one could have looked more paternal than he did. 

The young bishop of Agde appeared. He looked very 
astonished when, in making a scrutiny of those present, his 
gaze fell upon Julien. He had not spoken to him since the 
ceremony of Bray le-Haut. His look of surprise embarrassed 
and irritated Julien. " What ! " he said to himself, " will 
knowing a man always turn out unfortunate for me ? I don't 
feel the least bit intimidated by all those great lords whom I 
have never seen, but the look of that young bishop freezes me. 
I must admit that I am a very strange and very unhappy 

An extremely swarthy little man entered noisily soon 
afterwards and started talking as soon as he reached the door. 
He had a yellow complexion and looked a little mad. As 
soon as this ruthless talker arrived, the others formed them- 
selves into knots with the apparent object of avoiding the 
bother of listening to him. 

As they went away from the mantelpiece they came near 
the lower end of the table where Julien was placed. His 
countenance became more and more embarrassed, for whatever 
efforts he made, he could not avoid hearing, and in spite of 
all his lack of experience he appreciated all the moment of the 
things which they were discussing with such complete frank- 
ness, and the importance which the high personages whom 
he apparently had under his observation must attach to their 
being kept secret. 

Julien had already cut twenty quills as slowly as possible ; 
this distraction would shortly be no longer available. He 
looked in vain at M. de la Mole's eyes for an order; the 
marquis had forgotten him. 

" What I am doing is ridiculous," he said to himself as he 
cut his quills, " but persons with so mediocre an appearance 
and who are handling such great interests either for themselves 
or for others must be extremely liable to take offence. My 
unfortunate look has a certain questioning and scarcely 
respectful expression, which will doubtless irritate them. But 


if I palpably lower my eyes I shall look as if I were picking up 
every word they said." 

His embarrassment was extreme, he was listening to strange 



The republic : For one man to day who will sacrifice 
everything for the public welfare, there are thousands and 
millions who think of nothing except their enjoyments and 
their vanity. One is requested in Paris by reason of 
the qualities not of one's self but of one's carriage. 
NAPOLEON, Memorial. 

The footman rushed in saying " Monsieur the duke de " 

" Hold your tongue, you are just a fool," said the duke 
as he entered. He spoke these words so well, and with so 
much majesty, that Julien could not help thinking this great 
person's accomplishments were limited to the science of 
snubbing a lackey. Julien raised his eyes and immediately 
lowered them. He had so fully appreciated the significance 
of the new arrival that he feared that his look might be an 

The duke was a man of fifty dressed like a dandy and 
with a jerky walk. He had a narrow head with a large nose 
and a face that jutted forward ; it would have been difficult to 
have looked at the same time more insignificant. His arrival 
was the signal for the opening of the meeting. 

Julien was sharply interrupted in his physiognomical 
observations by de la Mole's voice. " I present to you M. 
the abbe Sorel," said the Marquis. "He is gifted with an 
astonishing memory ; it is scarcely an hour ago since I spoke 
to him of the mission by which he might be honoured, and 
he has learned the first page of the Quotidienne by heart 
in order to give proof of his memory." 

" Ah ! foreign news of that poor N " said the master of 
the house. He took up the paper eagerly and looked at 
Julien in a manner rendered humorous by its own self- 
mportance. " Speak, monsieur," he said to him. 


The silence was profound, all eyes were fixed on Julien. 
He recited so well that the duke said at the end of twenty 
lines, " That is enough." The little man who looked like a 
boar sat down. He was the president, for he had scarcely 
taken his place before he showed Julien a card-table and 
signed to him to bring it near him. Julien established 
himself at it with writing materials. He counted twelve 
persons seated round the green table cloth. 

" M. Sorel," said the Duke, " retire into next room, you 
will be called." 

The master of the house began to look very anxious. 
" The shutters are not shut," he said to his neighbour in a 
semi-whisper. " It is no good looking out of the window," he 
stupidly cried to Julien " so here I am more or less mixed up 
in a conspiracy," thought the latter. " Fortunately it is not one 
of those which lead to the Place-de-Greve. Even though 
there were danger, I owe this and even more to the marquis, 
and should be glad to be given the chance of making up for 
all the sorrow which my madness may one day occasion him." 

While thinking of his own madness and his own unhappiness 
he regarded the place where he was, in such a way as to 
imprint it upon his memory for ever. He then remembered 
for the first time that he had never heard the lackey tell the 
name of the street, and that the marquis had taken a fiacre 
which he never did in the ordinary way. Julien was left to 
his own reflections for a long time. He was in a salon 
upholstered in red velvet with large pieces of gold lace. A 
large ivory crucifix was on the consol-table and a gilt-edged, 
magnificently bound copy of M. de Maistre's book The Pope 
was on the mantelpiece. Julien opened it so as not to appear 
to be eavesdropping. From time to time they talked loudly in 
the next room. At last the door was opened and he was 
called in. 

" Remember, gentlemen," the president was saying " that 
from this moment we are talking in the presence of the duke 

of . This gentleman," he said, pointing to Julien, " is a 

young acolyte devoted to our sacred cause who by the aid of 
his marvellous memory will repeat quite easily our very 
slightest words." 

" It is your turn to speak, Monsieur," he said pointing to 
the paternal looking personage who wore three or four waist- 



coats. Julien thought it would have been more natural to 
have called him the gentleman in the waistcoats. He took 
some paper and wrote a great deal. 

(At this juncture the author would have liked to have put a 
page of dots. " That," said his publisher, " would be clumsy 
and in the case of so light a work clumsiness is death." 

" Politics," replies the author, " is a stone tied round the 
neck of literature which submerges it in less than six months. 
Politics in the midst of imaginative matter is like a pistol shot 
in the middle of a concert. The noise is racking without 
being energetic. It does not harmonise with the sound 
of any instrument. These politics will give mortal offence to 
one half of the readers and will bore the other half, who will 
have already read the ideas in question as set out in the 
morning paper in its own drastic manner." 

" If your characters don't talk politics," replied the publisher, 
" they cease to be Frenchmen of 1830, and your book is no 
longer a mirror as you claim ? ") 

Julien's record ran to twenty-six pages. Here is a very 
diluted extract, for it has betn necessary to adopt the 
invariable practice of suppressing those ludicrous passages, 
whose violence would have seemed either offensive or 
intolerable (see the Gazette des Tribunaux). 

The man with the waistcoats and the paternal expression 
(he was perhaps a bishop) often smiled and then his eyes, 
which were surrounded with a floating forest of eyebrows, 
assumed a singular brilliance and an unusually decided expres- 
sion. This personage whom they made speak first before the 
duke ("but what duke is it?" thought Julien to himself) 
with the apparent object of expounding various points of view 
and fulfilling the functions of an advocate-general, appeared to 
Julien to fall into the uncertainty and lack of definiteness with 
which those officials are so often taxed. During the course of 
the discussion the duke went so far as to reproach him on 
this score. After several sentences of morality and indulgent 
philosophy the man in the waistcoats said, 

" Noble England, under the guiding hand of a great man, 
the immortal Pitt, has spent forty milliards of francs in 
opposing the revolution. If this meeting will allow me to 
treat so melancholy a subject with some frankness, England 
fails to realise sufficiently that in dealing with a man like 


Buonaparte, especially when they have nothing to oppose him 
with, except a bundle of good intentions there is nothing 
decisive except personal methods." 

" Ah ! praising assassination again ! " said the master 01" the 
house anxiously. 

" Spare us your sentimental sermons," cried the president 
angrily. His boarlike eye shone with a savage brillance. 
" Go on," he said to the man with the waistcoatb. The 
cheeks and the forehead of the president became purple. 

" Noble England," replied the advocate-general, " is crushed 
to-day : for each Englishman before paying for his own bread 
is obliged to pay the interest on forty milliards of francs which 
were used against the Jacobins. She has no more Pitt." 

She has the Duke of Wellington," said a military personage 
looking very important. 

" Please, gentlemen, silence," exclaimed the president. " If 
we are still going to dispute, there was no point in having M. 
Sorel in." 

"We know that monsieur has many ideas," said the duke 
irritably, looking at the interrupter who was an old Napoleonic 
general. Julien saw that these words contained some personal 
and very offensive allusion. Everybody smiled, the turn- coat 
general appeared beside himself with rage. 

" There is no longer a Pitt, gentlemen," went on the speaker 
with all the despondency of a man who has given up all hope 
of bringing his listeners to reason. " If there were a new Pitt 
in England, you would not dupe a nation twice over by the 
same means." 

"That's why a victorious general, a Buonaparte, will be 
henceforward impossible in France," exclaimed the military 

On this occasion neither the president nor the duke ventured 
to get angry, though Julien thought he read in their eyes that 
they would very much like to have done so. They lowered 
their eyes, and the duke contented himself with sighing in 
quite an audible manner. But the speaker was put upon his 

" My audience is eager for me to finish," he said vigorously, 
completely discarding that smiling politeness and that balanced 
diction that Julien thought had expressed his character so 
well. " It is eager for me to finish, it is not grateful to me for 


the efforts I am making to offend nobody's ears, however long 
they may be. Well, gentlemen, I will be brief. 

" I will tell you in quite common words : England has not 
got a sou with which to help the good cause. If Pitt himself 
were to come back he would never succeed with all his genius 
in duping the small English landowners, for they know that 
the short Waterloo campaign alone cost them a milliard of 
francs. As you like clear phrases," continued the speaker, 
becoming more and more animated, " I will say this to you : 
Help yourselves, for England has not got a guinea left to 
help you with, and when England does not pay, Austria, 
Russia and Prussia who will only have courage but have no 
money cannot launch more than one or two campaigns 
against France. 

" One may hope that the young soldiers who will be recruited 
by the Jacobins will be beaten in the first campaign, and 
possibly in the second ; but, even though I seem a revolutionary 
in your prejudiced eyes, in the third campaign in the third 
campaign I say you will have the soldiers of 1794 who were 
no longer the soldiers enlisted in 1792." 

At this point interruption broke out simultaneously from 
three or four quarters. 

" Monsieur," said the president to Julien, " Go and make a 
precis in the next room qf the beginning of the report which 
you have written out." 

Julien went out to his great regret. The speaker was just 
dealing with the question of probabilities which formed 
the usual subject for his meditations. " They are frightened 
of my making fun of them," he thought. When he was 
called back, M. de la Mole was saying with a seriousuess 
which seemed quite humorous to Julien who knew him so 

" Yes, gentlemen, one finds the phrase, ' is it god, table or 
tub ? ' especially applicable to this unhappy people. ' // is god ' 
exclaims the writer of fables. It is to you, gentlemen, that 
this noble and profound phrase seems to apply. Act on your 
own initiative, and noble France will appear again, almost such 
as our ancestors made her, and as our own eyes have seen her 
before the death of Louis XVI. 

" England execrates disgraceful Jacobinism as much as we 
do, or at any rate her noble lords do. Without English gold, 


Austria and Prussia would only be able to give battle two or 
three times. Would that be sufficient to ensure a successful 
occupation like the one which M. de Richelieu so foolishly 
failed to exploit in 181 7 ? I do not think so." 

At this point there was an interruption which was stifled by 
the hushes of the whole room. It came again from the old 
Imperial general who wanted the blue ribbon and wished to 
figure among the authors of the secret note. 

" I do not think so," replied M. de la Mole, after the uproar 
had subsided. He laid stress on the " I " with an insolence 
which charmed Julien. 

"That's a pretty piece of acting," he said to himself, as he 
made his pen almost keep pace with the marquis' words. 

M. de la Mole annihilated the twenty campaigns of the 
turncoat with a well turned phrase. 

11 It is not only on foreign powers," continued the marquis in 
a more even tone, " on whom we shall be able to rely for a 
new military occupation. All those young men who write 
inflammatory articles in the Globe will provide you with three 
or four thousand young captains among whom you may find 
men with the genius, but not the good intentions of a Kleber, 
a Hoche, a Jourdan, a Pichegru." 

" We did not know how to glorify him," said the president. 
"He should have been immortalized." 

"Finally, it is necessary for France to have two parties," 
went on M. de la Mole ; " but two parties not merely in name, 
but with clear-cut lines of cleavage. Let us realise what has 
got to be crushed. On the one hand the journalists and the 
electors, in a word, public opinion ; youth and all that admire 
it. While it is stupefying itself with the noise of its own vain 
words, we have certain advantages of administrating the 
expenditure of the budget." 

At this point there was another interruption. 

"As for you, monsieur," said M. de !a Mole to the 
interrupter, with an admirable haughtiness and ease of 
mnnner, " you do not spend, if the words chokes you, but you 
devour the forty thousand francs put down to you in the State 
budget, and the eighty thousand which you receive from the 
civil list." 

" Well, monsieur, since you force me to it, I will be bold 
enough to take you for an example. Like your noble 


ancestors, who followed Saint Louis to the crusade, you ought 
in return for those hundred and twenty thousand francs to 
show us at any rate a regiment ; a company, why, what am I 
saying? say half a company, even if it only had fifty men, 
ready to fight and devoted to the good cause to the point of 
risking their lives in its service. You have nothing but lackeys, 
who in the event of a rebellion would frighten you yourselves." 
" Throne, Church, Nobility are liable to perish to-morrow, 
gentlemen, so long as you refrain from creating in each 
department a force of five hundred devoted men, devoted I 
mean, not only with all the French courage, but with all the 
Spanish constancy. 

" Half of this force ought to be composed of our children, 
our nephews, of real gentlemen, in fact. Each of them will 
have beside him not a little talkative bourgeois ready to hoist 
the tricolor cockade, if 1815 turns up again, but a good, 
frank and simple peasant like Our gentleman 
will have educated him, it will be his own foster brother if it 
is possible. Let each of us sacrifice the fifth of his income in 
order to form this little devoted force of five hundred men in 
each department. Then you will be able to reckon on a 
foreign occupation. The foreign soldier will never penetrate 
even as far as Dijon if he is not certain of finding five hundred 
friendly soldiers in each department. 

" The foreign kings will only listen to you when you are in a 
position to announce to them that you have twenty thousand 
gentlemen ready to take up arms in order to open to them the 
gates of France. The service is troublesome, you say. 
Gentlemen, it is the only way of saving our lives. There is 
war to the death between the liberty of the press and our 
existence as gentlemen. Become manufacturers, become 
peasants, or take up your guns. Be timid if you like, but do 
not be stupid. Open your eyes. 

" ' Form your battalions] I would say to you in the words 
of the Jacobin songs. Some noble Gustavus Adolphus will 
then be found who, touched by the imminent peril of the 
monarchical principle, will make a dash three hundred leagues 
from his own country, and will do for you what Gustavus did 
for the Protestant princes. Do you want to go on talking 
without acting ? In fifty years' time there will be only 
presidents or republics in Europe and not one king, and with 


those three letters R. O. I. you will see the last of the priests 
and the gentlemen. I can see nothing but candidates paying 
court to squalid majorities. 

" It is no use your saying that at the present time France 
has not a single accredited general who is universally known 
and loved, that the army is only known and organised in the 
interests of the throne and the church, and that it has been 
deprived of all its old troopers, while each of the Prussian and 
Austrian regiments count fifty non-commissioned officers who 
have seen fire. 

" Two hundred thousand young men of the middle classes 
are spoiling for war " 

" A truce to disagreeable truths," said a grave personage in 
a pompous tone. He was apparently a very high ecclesiastical 
dignitary, for M. de la Mole smiled pleasantly, instead oj 
getting angry, a circumstance which greatly impressed Julien. 

"A truce to unpleasant truths, let us resume, gentlemen. 
The man who needs to have a gangrened leg cut off would be 
ill advised to say to his surgeon, ' this disease is very healthy.' 
If I may use the metaphor, gentlemen, the noble duke of 
is our surgeon." 

"So the great words have at last been uttered," thought 
Julien. " It is towards the that I shall gallop to-night." 



The first law of every being, is lo preserve itself and live. You 
sow hemlock, and expect to see ears of corn ripen. Macchiavelli. 

The great personage continued. One could see that he knew 
his subject. He proceeded to expound the following great 
truths with a soft and tempered eloquence with which Julien 
was inordinately delighted : 

" i. England has not a guinea to help us with ; economy 
and Hume are the fashion there. Even the saints will not 
give us any money, and M. Brougham will make fun of us. 

"2. The impossibility of getting the kings of Europe to 
embark on more than two campaigns without English gold ; 
two campaigns will not be enough to dispose of the middle 

" 3. The necessity of forming an armed party in France. 
Without this, the monarchical principle in Europe will not 
risk even two campaigns. 

" The fourth point which I venture to suggest to you, as 
self-evident, is this : 

" The impossibility of forming an armed party in France 
without the clergy. I am bold enough to tell you this because 
I will prove it to you, gentlemen. You must make every 
sacrifice for the clergy. 

" Firstly, because as it is occupied with its mission by day 
and by night, and guided by highly capable men established 
far from these storms at three hundred leagues from your 
frontiers " 

" Ah, Rome, Rome ! " exclaimed the master of the house. 

" Yes, monsieur, Rome," replied the Cardinal haughtily. 
" Whatever more or less ingenious jokes may have been the 


fashion when you were young, I have no hesitation in saying 
that in 1830 it is only the clergy, under the guidance of Rome, 
who has the ear of the lower classes. 

" Fifty thousand priests repeat the same words on the 
day appointed by their chiefs, and the people who after all 
provide soldiers will be more touched by the voices of its 
priests than by all the versifying in the whole world." (This 
personality provoked some murmurs.) 

" The clergy has a genius superior to yours, ' went on the 
cardinal raising his voice. " All the progress that has been 
made towards this essential point of having an armed party in 
France has been made by us." At this juncture facts were 
introduced. " Who used eighty thousand rifles in Vendee ? " 
etc., etc. 

" So long as the clergy is without its forests it is helpless. 
At the first war the minister of finance will write to his agents 
that there is no money to be had except for the cure. At 
bottom France does not believe, and she loves war. Whoever 
gives her war will be doubly popular, for making war is, to use 
a vulgar phrase, the same as starving the Jesuits; making 
war means delivering those monsters of pride the men of 
France from the menace of foreign intervention." 

The cardinal had a favourable hearing. " M. de Nerval," 
he said, " will have to leave the ministry, his name irritates 
and to no purpose." 

At these words everybody got up and talked at the same 
time. " I will be sent away again," thought Julien, but the 
sapient president himself had forgottoti both the presence and 
existence of Julien. 

All eyes were turned upon a man whom Julien recognised. 
It was M. de Nerval, the prime minister, whom he had seen at 
M. the due de Retz's ball. 

The disorder was at its height, as the papers say when they 
talk of the Chamber. At the end of a long quarter of an 
hour a little quiet was established. 

Then M. de Nerval got up and said in an apostolic tone 
and a singular voice : 

" I will not go so far as to say that I do not set great store 
on being a minister. 

" It has been demonstrated to me, gentlemen, that my 
name will double the forces of the Jacobins by making many 


moderates divide against us. I should therefore be willing to 
retire ; but the ways of the Lord are only visible to a small 
number ; but," he added, looking fixedly at the cardinal, " I 
have a mission. Heaven has said : ' You will either loose 
your head on the scaffold or you will re-establish the 
monarchy of France and reduce the Chambers to the condition 
of the parliament of Louis XV.,' and that, gentlemen, I shall 

He finished his speech, sat down, and there was a long 

" What a good actor," thought Julien. He made his usual 
mistake of ascribing too much intelligence to the people. Ex- 
cited by the debates of so lively an evening, and above all by 
the sincerity of the discussion, M. de Nerval did at this moment 
believe in his mission. This man had great courage, but at 
the same time no sense. 

During the silence that followed the impressive words, " I 
shall do it," midnight struck. Julien thought that the striking 
of the clock had in it a certain element of funereal majesty. 
He felt moved. 

The discussion was soon resumed with increasing energy, 
and above all with an incredible naivety. " These people will 
have me poisoned," thought Julien at times. " How can they 
say such things before a plebian." 

They were still talking when two o'clock struck. The 
master of the house had been sleeping for some time. M. de 
la Mole was obliged to ring for new candles. M. de Nerval, 
the minister, had left at the quarter to two, but not without 
having repeatedly studied Julien's face in a mirror which was 
at the minister's side. His departure had seemed to put 
everybody at their ease. 

While they were bringing new candles, the man in the 
waistcoats, whispered to his neighbour : " God knows what 
that man will say to the king. He may throw ridicule upon 
us and spoil our future." 

"One must own that he must possess an unusual self- 
assurance, not to say impudence, to put in an appearance here 
There were signs of it before he became a minister ; but a 
portfolio changes everything and swamps all a man's interests ; 
he must have felt its effect." 

The minister had scarcely left before the general of 


Buonaparte closed his eyes. He now talked of his health 
and his wounds, consulted his watch, and went away. 

" I will wager," said the man in the waistcoats, " that the 
general is running after the minister; he will apologise for 
having' been here and pretend that he is our leader." 

" Let us now deliberate, gentlemen," said the president, 
after the sleepy servants had finished bringing and lighting 
new candles. Let us leave off trying to persuade each other. 
Let us think of the contents of the note which will be read 
by our friends outside in forty-eight hours from now. We 
have heard ministers spoken of. Now that M. de Nerval 
has left us, we are at liberty to say ' what we do care for 
ministers.' " 

The cardinal gave a subtle smile of approval. 

" Nothing is easier it seems to me than summing up our 
position," said the young bishop of Agde, with the restrained 
concentrated fire of the most exalted fanaticism. He had 
kept silent up to this time ; his eye, which Julien had noticed 
as being soft and calm at the beginniug, had become fiery 
during the first hour of the discussion. His soul was now 
bubbling over like lava from Vesuvius. 

"England only made one mistake from 1806 to 1814," he 
said, "and that was in not taking direct and personal measures 
against Napoleon. As soon as that man had made dukes and 
chamberlains, as soon as he had re-established the throne, the 
mission that God had entrusted to him was finished. The 
only thing to do with him was to sacrifice him. The 
scriptures teach us in more than one place how to make 
an end of tyrants" (at this point there were several Latin 

" To-day, gentlemen, it is not a man who has to be 
sacrificed, it is Paris. What is the use of arming your five 
hundred men in each department, a hazardous and inter- 
minable enterprise? What is the good of involving France 
in a matter which is personal to Paris? Paris alone has 
done the evil, with its journals and it salons. Let the new 
Babylon perish. 

" We must bring to an end the conflict between the church 
and Paris. Such a catastrophe would even be in the worldly 
interests of the throne. Why did not Paris dare to whisper a 
word under Buonaparte ? Ask the cannon of Saint-Roch ? " 


Julien did not leave with M. de la Mole before three o'clock 
in the morning. 

The marquis seemed tired and ashamed. For the first 
time in his life in conversation with Julien, his tone was 
plaintive. He asked him for his word never to reveal the 
excesses of zeal, that was his expression, of which chance 
had just made him a witness. " Only mention it to our foreign 
friend, if he seriously insists on knowing what our young 
madmen are like. What does it matter to them if a state is 
overthrown, they will become cardinals and will take refuge 
in Rome. As for us, we shall be massacred by the peasants 
in our ch&teaus." 

The secret note into which the marquis condensed Julien's 
full report of twenty-six pages was not ready before a quarter 
to five. 

" I am dead tired," said the marquis, " as is quite obvious 
from the lack of clearness at the end of this note ; I am more 
dissatisfied with it than with anything I ever did in my whole 
life. Look here, my friend," he added, "go and rest for some 
hours, and as I am frightened you might be kidnapped, I shall 
lock you up in your room." 

The marquis took Julien on the following day to a lonely 
chateau at a good distance from Paris. There were strange 
guests there whom Julien thought were priests. He was 
given a passport which was made out in a fictitious name, 
but indicated the real destination of his journey, which he 
had always pretended not to know. He got into a carriage 

The marquis had no anxiety on the score of his memory. 
Julien had recited the secret note to him several times but he 
was very apprehensive of his being intercepted. 

" Above all, mind you look like a coxcomb who is simply 
travelling to kill time," he said affectionately to him when he 
was leaving the salon. " Perhaps there was more than one 
treacherous brother in this evening's meeting." 

The journey was quick and very melancholy. Julien 
had scarcely got out of the marquis's sight before he forgot 
his secret note and his mission, and only thought about 
Mathilde's disdain. 

At a village some leagues beyond Metz, the postmaster 
came and told him that there were no horses. It was ten 


o'clock in the evening. Julien was very annoyed and asked 
for supper. He walked in front of the door and gradually 
without being noticed passed into the stable-yard. He did 
not see any horses there. 

"That man looked strange though," thought Julien to 
himself. " He was scrutinizing me with his brutal eyes." 

As one sees he was beginning to be slightly sceptical of all 
he heard. He thought of escaping after supper, and in order 
to learn at any rate something about the surrounding country, 
he left his room to go and warm himself at the kitchen fire. 
He was overjoyed to find there the celebrated singer, signor 

The Neopolitan was ensconced in an armchair which he had 
had brought near the fire. He was groaning aloud, and was 
speaking more to himself than to the twenty dumbfounded 
German peasants who surrounded him. 

" Those people will be my ruin," he cried to Julien, " I 
have promised to sing to-morrow at Mayence. Seven 
sovereign princes have gone there to hear me. Let us go 
and take the air," he added, meaningly. 

When he had gone a hundred yards down the road, and it 
was impossible to be overheard, he said to Julien : 

" Do you know the real truth, the postmaster is a scoundrel. 
When I went out for a walk I gave twenty sous to a little 
ragamuffin who told me everything. There are twelve horses 
in the stable at the other end of the village. They want to 
stop some courier." 

" Really," said Julien innocently. 

Discovering the fraud was not enough ; the thing was to get 
away, but Geronimo and his friends could not succeed in 
doing this. 

" Let us wait for daybreak," said the singer at last, " they 
are mistrustful of us. It is perhaps you or me whom they 
suspect. We will order a good breakfast to-morrow morning, 
we will go for a walk while they are getting it ready, we 
will then escape, we will hire horses, and gain the next 

" And how about your luggage?" said Julien, who thought 
perhaps Geronimo himself might have been sent to intercept 
him. They had to have supper and go to bed. Julien was 
still in his first sleep when he was woken up with a start by 


the voices of two persons who were speaking in his room with 
utmost freedom. 

He recognised the postmaster armed with a dark lantern. 
The light was turned on the carriage-seat which Julien had 
had taken up into his room. Beside the postmaster was a 
man who was calmly searching the open seat. Julien could 
see nothing except the sleeves of his coat which were black 
and very tight. 

" It's a cassock," he said to himself and he softly seized the 
little pistol which he had placed under his pillow. 

" Don't be frightened of his waking up, cure," said the post- 
master, "the wine that has been served him was the stuff 
prepared by yourself." 

" I can't find any trace of papers," answered the cure. " A 
lot of linen and essences, pommades, and vanities. It's a 
young man of the world on pleasure bent. The other one 
who effects an Italian accent is more likely to be the emissary." 

The men approached Julien to search the pockets of his 
travelling coat. He felt very tempted to kill them for thieves. 
Nothing could be safer in its consequences. He was very 
desirous of doing so . . . "I should only be a fool," he said 
to himself, " I should compromise my mission." " He is not 
a diplomatist," said the priest after searching his coat. He 
went away and did well to do so. 

" It will be a bad business for him," Julien was saying to 
himself, " if he touches me in my bed. He may have quite 
well come to stab me, and I won't put up with that." 

The cure turned his head, Julien half opened his eyes. He 
was inordinately astonished, he was the abbe Castanede. As 
a matter of fact, although these two persons had made a point 
of talking in a fairly low voice, he had thought from the first 
that he recognised one of the voices. Julien was seized with 
an inordinate desire to purge the earth of one of its most 
cowardly villains; " But my mission," he said to himself. 

The cure and his acolyte went out. A quarter of an hour 
afterwards Julien pretended to have just woken up. He 
called out and woke up the whole house. 

" I am poisoned," he exclaimed, " I am suffering horribly ! " 
He wanted an excuse to go to Geronimo's help. He found 
him half suffocated by the laudanum that had been contained 
in the wine. 


Julien had been apprehensive of some trick of this charade 
and had supped on some chocolate which he had brought 
from Paris. He could not wake Geronimo up sufficiently to 
induce him to leave. 

"If they were to give me the whole kingdon of Naples," 
said the singer, " I would not now give up the pleasure of 

" But the seven sovereign princes ? " 

" Let them wait." 

Julien left alone, and arrived at the house of the great 
personage without other incident. He wasted a whole 
morning in vainly soliciting an audience. Fortunately about 
four o'clock the duke wanted to take the air. Julien saw him 
go out on foot and he did not hesitate to ask him for alms. 
When at two yards' distance from the great personage he 
pulled out the Marquis de la Mole's watch and exhibited it 
ostentatiously. "Follow me at a distance? said the man 
without looking at him. 

At a quarter of a league's distance the duke suddenly entered 
a little coffee-house. It was in a room of this low class inn 
that Julien had the honour of reciting his four pages to the 
duke. When he had finished he was told to "start again and 
go more slowly." 

The prince took notes. " Reach the next posting station 
on foot. Leave your luggage and your carriage here. Get to 
Strasbourg as best you can and at half-past twelve on the 
twenty-second of the month (it was at present the tenth) come 
to this same coffee-house. Do not leave for half-an-hour. 
Silence ! " 

These were the only words which Julien heard. They 
sufficed to inspire him with the highest admiration. " That is 
the way," he thought, " that real business is done ; what would 
this great statesman say if he were to listen to the impassioned 
ranters heard three days ago ? " 

Julien took two days to reach Strasbourg. He thought he 
would have nothing to do there. He made a great detour. 
" If that devil of an abbe Castanede has recognised me he is 
not the kind of man to loose track of me easily . . . And 
how he would revel in making a fool of me, and causing my 
mission to fail." 

Fortunately the Abbe Castanede, who was chief of the 


congregational police on all the northern frontier had not 
recognised him. And the Strasbourg Jesuits, although very 
zealous, never gave a thought to observing Julien, who with 
his cross and his blue tail-coat looked like a young military 
man, very much engrossed in his own personal appearance. 



Fascination ! Love gives thee all his love, energy and 
all his power of suffering unhappiness. It is only his en- 
chanting pleasures, his sweet delights, which are outside 
thy sphere. When I saw her sleep I was made to say 
" With all her angelic beauty and her sweet weaknesses 
she is absolutely mine ! There she is, quite in my 
power, such as Heaven made her in its pity in order to 
ravish a man's heart." Ode of Schiller, 

Julien was compelled to spend eight days in Strasbourg and 
tried to distract himself by thoughts of military glory and 
patriotic devotion. Was he in love then ? he could not tell, 
he only felt in his tortured soul that Mathilde was the absolute 
mistress both of his happiness and of his imagination. He 
needed all the energy of his character to keep himself from 
sinking into despair. It was out of his power to think of any- 
thing unconnected with mademoiselle de la Mole. His ambition 
and his simple personal successes had formerly distracted him 
from the sentiments which madame de Renal had inspired. 
Mathilde was all-absorbing ; she loomed large over his whole 

Julien saw failure in every phase of that future. This same 
individual whom we remember to have been so presumptuous 
and haughty at Verrieres, had fallen into an excess of grotesque 

Three days ago he would only have been too pleased to 
have killed the abbe Castanede, and now, at Strasbourg, if a 
child had picked a quarrel with him he would have thought 
the child was in the right. In thinking again about the 
adversaries and enemies whom he had met in his life he always 
thought that he, Julien, had been in the wrong. The fact was 



that the same powerful imagination which had formerly been 
continuously employed in painting a successful future in the 
most brilliant colours had now been transformed into his 
implacable enemy. 

The absolute solicitude of a traveller's life increased the 
ascendancy of this sinister imagination. What a boon a friend 
would have been ! But Julien said to himself, " Is there a 
single heart which beats with affection for me ? And even if 
I did have a friend, would not honour enjoin me to eternal 
silence ? " 

He was riding gloomily in the outskirts of Kehl; it is a 
market town on the banks of the Rhine and immortalised by 
Desaix and Gouvion Saint-Cyr. A German peasant showed 
him the little brooks, roads and islands of the Rhine, which 
have acquired a name through the courage of these great 
generals. Julien was guiding his horse with his left hand, 
while he held unfolded in his right the superb map which 
adorns the Memoirs of the Marshal Saint Cyr. A merry 
exclamation made him lift his head. 

It was the Prince Korasoff, that London friend of his, who had 
initiated him some months before into the elementary rules of 
high fatuity. Faithful to his great art, Korasoff, who had just 
arrived at Strasbourg, had been one hour in Kehl and had 
never read a single line in his whole life about the siege of 
1796, began to explain it all to Julien. The German peasant 
looked at him in astonishment ; for he knew enough French 
to appreciate the enormous blunders which the prince was 
making. Julien was a thousand leagues away from the 
peasant's thoughts. He was looking in astonishment at the 
handsome young man and admiring his grace in sitting a 

" What a lucky temperament," he said to himself, " and how 
his trousers suit him and how elegantly his hair is cut ! Alas, 
if I had been like him, it might have been that she would not 
have come to dislike me after loving me for three days." 

When the prince had finished his siege of Kehl, he said to 
Julien, " You look like a Trappist, you are carrying to excess 
that principle of gravity which I enjoined upon you in London* 
A melancholy manner cannot be good form. What is wanted 
is an air of boredom. If you are melancholy, it is because you 
lack something, because you have failed in something." 


" That means showing one's own inferiority ; if, on the other 
hand you are bored, it is only what has made an unsuccessful 
attempt to please you, which is inferior. So realise, my dear 
friend, the enormity of your mistake." 

Julien tossed a crown to the gaping peasant who was 
listening to them. 

" Good," said the prince, " that shows grace and a noble 
disdain, very good ! " And he put his horse to the gallop. 
Full of a stupid admiration, Julien followed him. 

" Ah ! if I have been like that, she would not have preferred 
Croisenois to me ! " The more his reason was offended by the 
grotesque affectations of the prince the more he despised 
himself for not having them. It was impossible for self- 
disgust to be carried further. 

The prince still finding him distinctly melancholy, said to 
him as they re-entered Strasbourg. " Come, my dear fellow, 
have you lost all your money, or perhaps you are in love with 
some little actress. 

" The Russians copy French manners, but always at an 
interval of fifty years. They have now reached the age of 
Louis XV." 

These jests about love brought the tears to Julien's eyes. 
" Why should I not consult this charming man," he suddenly 
said to himself. 

" Well, yes, my dear friend," he said to the prince, " you 
see in me a man who is very much in love and jilted into the 
bargain. A charming woman who lives in a neighbouring 
town has left me stranded here after three passionate days, 
and the change kills me," 

Using fictitious names, he described to the prince Mathilde's 
conduct and character. 

Ji You need not finish," said Korasoff. " In order to give 
you confidence in your doctor, I will finish the story you have 
confided to me. This young woman's husband enjoys an 
enormous income, or even more probably, she belongs herself 
to the high nobility of the district. She must be proud about 

Julien nodded his head, he had no longer the courage to 
speak. " Very good," said the prince, "here are three fairly 
bitter pills that you will take without delay. 

" 1. See madame What is her name, every day?" 


" Madame de Dubois." 

" What a name ! " said the prince bursting into laughter. 
" But forgive me, you find it sublime. Your tactics must be to 
see Madame de Dubois every day ; above all do not appear to 
be cold and piqued. Remember the great principle of your 
century : be the opposite of what is expected. Be exactly as 
you were the week before you were honoured by her favours." 

" Ah ! I was calm enough then," exclaimed Julien in despair, 
" I thought I was taking pity on her. . . ." 

" The moth is burning itself at the candle," continued the 
prince using a metaphor as old as the world. 

" i. You will see her every day. 

" 2. You will pay court to a woman in her own set, but 
without manifesting a passion, do you understand ? I do not 
disguise from you that your role is difficult ; you are playing a 
part, and if she realises you are playing it you are lost. " 

" She has so much intelligence and I have so little, I shall 
be lost," said Julien sadly. 

" No, you are only more in love than I thought. Madame 
de Dubois is preoccupied with herself as are all women who 
have been favoured by heaven either with too much pedigree or 
too much money. She contemplates herself instead of contem- 
plating you, consequently she does not know you. During 
the two or three fits of love into which she managed to work 
herself for your especial benefit, she saw in you the hero of 
her dreams, and not the man you really are. 

" But, deuce take it, this is elementary, my dear Sorel, are 
you an absolute novice ? 

" Oddslife ! Let us go into this shop. Look at that charming 
black cravat, one would say it was made by John Anderson 
of Burlington Street. Be kind enough to take it and throw 
far away that awful black cord which you are wearing round 
your neck." 

" And now," continued the prince as they came out of the 
shop of the first hosier of Strasbourg, " what is the society in 
which madame de Dubois lives ? Great God, what a name, 
don't be angry, my dear Sorel, I can't help it. . . . Now, 
whom are you going to pay court to ? " 

"To an absolute prude, the daughter of an immensely rich 
stocking-merchant. She has the finest eyes in the world and 
they please me infinitely; she doubtless holds the highest 


place in the society of the district, but in the midst of all her 
greatness she blushes and becomes positively confused if any- 
one starts talking about trade or shops. And, unfortu- 
nately, her father was one of the best known merchants in 

" So," said the prince with a laugh, " you are sure that when 
one talks about trade your fair lady thinks about herself and 
not about you. This silly weakness is divine and ex- 
tremely useful, it will prevent you from yielding to a single 
moment's folly when near her sparkling eyes. Success is 

Julien was thinking of madame the marechale de Fervaques 
who often came to the h6tel de la Mole. She was a beautiful 
foreigner who had married the marechal a year before his 
death. The one object of her whole life seemed to be to 
make people forget that she was the daughter of a manufacturer. 
In order to cut some figure in Paris she had placed herself at 
the head of the party of piety. 

Julien sincerely admired the prince; what would he not 
have given to have possessed his affectations ! The conversa- 
tion between the two friends was interminable. Korasoff was 
delighted : No Frenchman had ever listened to him for so 
long. "So I have succeeded at last," said the prince to 
himself complacently, " in getting a proper hearing and that too 
through giving lessons to my master." 

" So we are quite agreed," he repeated to Julien for the tenth 
time. "When you talk to the young beauty, I mean the 
daughter of the Strasbourg stocking merchant in the presence 
of madame de Dubois, not a trace of passion. But on the 
other hand be ardently passionate when you write. Reading 
a well-written love-letter is a prude's supremest pleasure. 
It is a moment of relaxation. She leaves off posing and dares 
to listen to her own heart; consequently two letters a 

"Never, never," said Julien despondently, " I would rather be 
ground in a mortar than make up three phrases. I am a 
corpse, my dear fellow, hope nothing from me. Let me die 
by the road side." 

" And who is talking about making up phrases ? I have 
got six volumes of copied-out love-letters in my bag. I have 
letters to suit every variation of feminine character, includ- 


ing the most highly virtuous. Did not Kalisky pay court 
at Richmond-on-the-Thames at three leagues from London, 
you know, to the prettiest Quakeress in the whole of 

Julien was less unhappy when he left his friend at two 
o'clock in the morning. 

The prince summoned a copyist on the following day, and 
two days afterwards Julien was the possessor of fifty-three 
carefully numbered love-letters intended for the most sublime 
and the most melancholy virtue. 

"The reason why there is not fifty-four," said the prince 
" is because Kalisky allowed himself to be dismissed. But 
what does it matter to you, if you are badly treated by the 
stocking-merchant's daughter since you only wish to produce 
an impression upon madame de Dubois heart." 

They went out riding every day, the prince was mad on 
Julien. Not knowing how else to manifest his sudden friend- 
ship, he finished up by offering him the hand of one of his 
cousins, a rich Moscow heiress ; " and once married," he 
added, " my influence and that cross of yours will get you 
made a Colonel within two years." 

" But that cross was not given me by Napoleon, far from 

"What does it matter?" said the prince, "didn't he invent 
it. It is still the first in Europe by a long way." 

Julien was on the point of accepting ; but his duty called 
him back to the great personage. When he left Korasoff he 
promised to write. He received the answer to the secret note 
which he had brought, and posted towards Paris ; but he had 
scarcely been alone for two successive days before leaving 
France, and Mathilde seemed a worse punishment than death. 
" I will not marry the millions Korasoff offers me," he said to 
himself, "and I will follow his advice. 

" After all the art of seduction is his speciality. He has 
thought about nothing else except that alone for more than 
fifteen years, for he is now thirty. 

" One can't say that he lacks intelligence ; he is subtle and 
cunning; enthusiasm and poetry are impossible in such a 
character. He is an attorney : an additional reason for his 
not making a mistake. 

" I must do it, I will pay court to madame de Fervaques. 


" It is very likely she will bore me a little, but I will look at 
her beautiful eyes which are so like those other eyes which 
have loved me more than anyone in the world. 

" She is a foreigner ; she is a new character to observe. 

" I feel mad, and as though I were going to the devil. I 
must follow the advice of a friend and not trust myself." 



But if I take this pleasure with so much prudence and circum- 
spection I shall no longer find it a pleasure. Lope de Vega. 

As soon as our hero had returned to Paris and had come out 
of the study of the marquis de La Mole, who seemed very dis- 
pleased with the despatches that were given him, he rushed off 
for the comte Altamira. This noble foreigner combined with 
the advantage of having once been condemned to death a very 
grave demeanour together with the good fortune of a devout 
temperament ; these two qualities, and more than anything, the 
comte's high birth, made an especial appeal to madame de 
Fervaques who saw a lot of him. 

j uhen solemnly confessed to him that he was very much in 
love with her. 

" Her virtue is the purest and the highest," answered 
Altamira, " only it is a little Jesuitical and dogmatic. 

" There are days when, though I understand each of the 
expressions which she makes use of, I never understand the 
whole sentence. She often makes me think that I do not 
know French as well as I am said to. But your acquaintance 
with her will get you talked about ; it will give you weight in 
the world. But let us go to Bustos," said Count Altamira 
who had a methodical turn of mind; "he once paid court to 
madame la marechale." 

Don Diego Bustos had the matter explained to him at 
length, while he said nothing, like a barrister in his chambers. 
He had a big monk-like face with black moustaches and an 
inimitable gravity ; he was, however, a good carbonaro. 

" I understand," he said to Julien at last. " Has the 
marechale de Fervaques had lovers, or has she not? Have 


you consequently any hope of success ? That is the question. 
I don't mind telling you, for my own part, that I have failed. 
Now that I am no more piqued I reason it out to myself in 
this way ; she is often bad tempered, and as I will tell you in a 
minute, she is quite vindictive. 

" I fail to detect in her that bilious temperament which is the 
sign of genius, and shows as it were a veneer of passion over 
all its actions. On the contrary, she owes her rare beauty 
and her fresh complexion to the phlegmatic, tranquil character 
of the Dutch." 

Julien began to lose patience with the phlegmatic slowness 
of the imperturbable Spaniard ; he could not help giving vent 
to some monosyllables from time to time. 

" Will you listen to me ? " Don Diego Bustos gravely said 
to him. 

"Forgive the furia franchese ; I am all ears," said Julien. 

" The marechale de Fervaques then is a great hater ; she 
persecutes ruthlessly people she has never seen advocates, 
poor devils of men of letters who have composed songs like 
Colle, you know ? 

" Jai la marotte 
D'aimer Marote, etc." 

And Julien had to put up with the whole quotation. 

The Spaniard was very pleased to get a chance of singing 
in French. 

That divine song was never listened to more impatiently. 
When it was finished Don Diego said " The marechale pro- 
cured the dismissal of the author of the song : 

" Un jour l'amour au cabaret." 

Julien shuddered lest he should want to sing it. He con- 
tented himself with analysing it. As a matter of fact, it was 
blasphemous and somewhat indecent. 

" When the marechale become enraged against that song," 
said Don Diego, " I remarked to her that a woman of her rank 
ought not to read all the stupid things that are published. 
Whatever progress piety and gravity may make France will 
always have a cabaret literature. 

" ' Be careful,' I said to madame de Fervaques when she had 


succeeded in depriving the author, a poor devil on halt-pay, of 
a place worth eighteen hundred francs a year, ' you have 
attacked this rhymster with your own arms, he may answer 
you with his rhymes ; he will make a song about virtue. The 
gilded salons will be on your side ; but people who like to 
laugh will repeat his epigrams.' Do you know, monsieur, what 
the merechale answered ? ' Let all Paris come and see me 
walking to my martyrdom for the sake of the Lord. It will be 
a new spectacle for France. The people will learn to respect 
the quality. It will be the finest day of my life.' Her eyes 
never looked finer." 

"And she has superb ones," exclaimed Julien. 
:< I see that you are in love. Further," went on Don Diego 
Bustos gravely, " she has not the bilious constitution which 
causes vindictiveness. If, however, she likes to do harm, it is 
because she is unhappy, I suspect some secret misfortune. 
May it not be quite well a case of prude tired of her role ? " 
The Spaniard looked at him in silence for a good minute. 
" That's the whole point," he added gravely, " and that's 
what may give you ground for some hope. I have often re- 
flected about it during the two years that I was her very 
humble servant. All your future, my amorous sir, depends on 
this great problem. Is she a prude tired of her role and only 
malicious because she is unhappy?" 

" Or," said Altamira emerging at last from his deep silence, 
" can it be as I have said twenty times before, simply a case 
of French vanity ; the memory of her father, the celebrated 
cloth merchant, constitutes the unhappiness of this frigid 
melancholy nature. The only happiness she could find would 
be to live in Toledo and to be tortured by a confessor who 
would show her hell wide open every day." 

" Altamira informs me you are one of us," said Don Diego, 
whose demeanour was growing graver and graver to Julien as 
he went out. " You will help us one day in re-winning our 
liberty, so I would like to help you in this little amusement. 
It is right that you should know the marechale's style ; here 
are four letters in her hand-writing." 

" I will copy them out," exclaimed Julien, " and bring them 
back to you." 

" And you will never let anyone know a word of what we 
have been saying." 


" Never, on my honour," cried Julien. 

" Well, God help you," added the Spaniard, and he silently 
escorted Altamira and Julien as far as the staircase. 

This somewhat amused our hero ; he was on the point of 
smiling. " So we have the devout Altamira," he said to him- 
self, " aiding me in an adulterous enterprise." 

During Don Diego's solemn conversation Julien had been 
attentive to the hours struck by the clock of the Hotel d' 

The dinner hour was drawing near, he was going to see 
Mathilde again. He went in and dressed with much care. 

" Mistake No. 1," he said to himself as he descended the 
staircase : " I must follow the prince's instructions to the 

He went up to his room again and put on a travelling suit 
which was as simple as it could be. " All I have to do now," 
he thought, " is to keep control of my expression." It was 
only half-past five and they dined at six. He thought of 
going down to the salon which he found deserted. He was 
moved to the point of tears at the sight of the blue sofa. " I 
must make an end of this foolish sensitiveness," he said angrily, 
" it will betray me." He took up a paper in order to keep 
Iimself in countenance and passed three or four times from 
soe salon into the garden. 

tnd was only when he was well concealed by a large oak 
atiwtwas trembling all over, that he ventured to raise his eyes 
et mademoiselle de la Mole's window. It was hermetically 

aled; he was on the point of falling and remained for a long 
hme leaning against the oak ; then with a staggering step he 
hent to have another look at the gardener's ladder. 

The chain which he had once forced asunder in, alas, such 
different circumstances had not yet been repaired. Carried 
away by a moment of madness, Julien pressed it to his lips. 

After having wandered about for a long time between the 
salon and the garden, Julien felt horribly tired ; he was now 
feeling acutely the effects of a first success. My eyes will be 
expressionless and will not betray me ! The guests gradually 
arrived in the salon ; the door never opened without instilling 
anxiety into Julien's heart. 

They sat down at table. Mademoiselle de la Mole, always 
faithful to her habit of keeping people waiting, eventually 


appeared. She blushed a great deal on seeing Julien, she had 
not been told of his arrival. In accordance with Prince 
Korasoff's recommendation, Julien looked at his hands. 
They were trembling. Troubled though he was beyond 
words by this discovery, he was sufficiently happy to look 
merely tired. 

M. de la Mole sang his praises. The marquise spoke to 
him a minute afterwards and complimented him on his tired 
appearance. Julien said to himself at every minute, " I ought 
not to look too much at mademoiselle de la Mole, I ought not 
to avoid looking at her too much either. I must appear as I 

was eight days before my unhappiness " He had 

occasion to be satisfied with his success and remained in the 
salon. Paying attention for the first time to the mistress of 
the house, he made every effort to make the visitors speak 
and to keep the conversation alive. 

His politeness was rewarded; madame la marechale de 
Fervaques was announced about eight o'clock. Julien retired 
and shortly afterwards appeared dressed with the greatest 
care. Madame de la Mole was infinitely grateful to him for 
this mark of respect and made a point of manifesting her 
satisfaction by telling madame de Fervaques about his journey. 
Julien established himself near the marechale in such a posi- 
tion that Mathilde could not notice his eyes. In this position 
he lavished in accordance with all the rules in the art of love, 
the most abject admiration on madame de Fervaques. The 
first of the 53 letters with which Prince Korasoff had presented 
him commenced with a tirade on this sentiment. 

The marechale announced that she was going to the Opera- 
Bouffe. Julien rushed there. He ran across the Chevalier de 
Beauvoisis who took him into a box occupied by Messieurs 
the Gentlemen of the Chamber, just next to madame de 
Fervaques's box. Julien constantly looked at her. " I must 
keep a siege-journal," he said to himself as he went back to the 
hotel, " otherwise I shall forget my attacks." He wrote two or 
three pages on this boring theme, and in this way achieved 
the admirable result of scarcely thinking at all about 
mademoiselle de la Mole. 

Mathilde had almost forgotten him during his journey. 
M He is simply a commonplace person after all," she thought, 
" his name will always recall to me the greatest mistake in my 


life. I must honestly go back to all my ideas about prudence 
and honour ; a woman who forgets them has everything to 
lose." She showed herself inclined to allow the contract with 
the marquis de Croisenois, which had been prepared so long 
ago, to be at last concluded. He was mad with joy; he 
would have been very much astonished had he been told that 
there was an element of resignation at the bottom of those 
feelings of Mathilde which made him so proud. 

All mademoiselle de la Mole's ideas changed when she saw 
Julien. " As a matter of fact he is my husband," she said to 
herself. " If I am sincere in my return to sensible notions, he 
is clearly the man I ought to marry." 

She was expecting importunities and airs of unhappiness on 
the part of Julien ; she commenced rehearsing her answers, 
for he would doubtless try to address some words to her when 
they left the dinner table. Far from that he remained 
stubbornly in the salon and did not even look in the direction 
of the garden, though God knows what pain that caused him ! 

" It is better to have this explanation out all at once," 
thought mademoiselle de la Mole ; she went into the garden 
alone, Julien did not appear. Mathilde went and walked near 
the salon window. She found him very much occupied in 
describing to madame de Fervaques the old ruined chateau 
which crown the banks along the Rhine and invest them with 
so much atmosphere. He was beginning to acquit himself 
with some credit in that sentimental picturesque jargon which 
is called wit in certain salons. Prince Korasoff would have 
been very proud if he had been at Paris. This evening was 
exactly what he had predicted. 

He would have approved the line of conduct which Julien 
followed on the subsequent days. 

An intrigue among the members of the secret government 
was going to bestow a few blue ribbons ; madame marechale 
de Fervaques was insisting on her great uncle being made a 
chevalier of the order. The marquis de la Mole had the same 
pretensions for his father-in-law ; they joined forces and the 
marechale came to the hotel de la Mole nearly every day. It 
was from her that Julien learned that the marquis was going 
to be a minister. He was offering to the Camarilla a very 
ingenious plan for the annihilation of the charter within three 
years without any disturbance. 


If M. de la Mole became a minister, Julien could hope for 
a bishopric : but all these important interests seemed to be 
veiled and hazy. His imagination only perceived them very 
vaguely, and so to speak, in the far distance. The awful un- 
happiness which was making him into a madman could find 
no other interest in life except the character of his relations 
with mademoiselle de la Mole. He calculated that after five 
or six careful years he would manage to get himself loved 

This cold brain had been reduced, as one sees, to a state 
of complete disorder. Out of all the qualities which had 
formerly distinguished him, all that remained was a little 
firmness. He was literally faithful to the line of conduct 
which prince Korasoff had dictated, and placed himself every 
evening near madame Fervaques' armchair, but he found it 
impossible to think of a word to say to her. 

The strain of making Mathilde think that he had recovered 
exhausted his whole moral force, and when he was with the 
marechale he seemed almost lifeless ; even his eyes had lost 
all their fire, as in cases of extreme physical suffering. 

As madame de la Mole's views were invariably a counterpart 
of the opinions of that husband of hers who could make her 
into a Duchess, she had been singing Julien's praises for some 



There also was of course in Adeline 
That calm patrician polish in the address, 
Which ne'er can pass the equinoctial line 
Of anything which Nature would express ; 
Just as a Mandarin finds nothing fine. 
At least his manner suffers not to guess 
That anything he views can greatly please. 

Don Juan, c. xiii. st. 84. 

" There is an element of madness in all this family's way of 
looking at things," thought the marechale; "they are in- 
fatuated with their young abbe, whose only accomplishment 
is to be a good listener, though his eyes are fine enough, it is 

Julien, on his side, found in the marechale's manners an 
almost perfect instance of that patrician calm which exhales a 
scrupulous politeness ; and, what is more, announces at the 
same time the impossibility of any violent emotion. Madame 
de Fervaques would have been as much scandalised by any 
unexpected movement or any lack of self-control, as by a lack 
of dignity towards one's inferiors. She would have regarded 
the slightest symptom of sensibility as a kind of moral 
drunkenness which puts one to the blush and was extremely 
prejudicial to what a person of high rank owed to herself. 
Her great happiness was to talk of the king's last hunt ; her 
favourite book, was the Memoirs of the Duke de Saint Simon, 
especially the genealogical part. 

Julien knew the place where the arrangement of the light 
suited madame de Fervaques' particular style of beauty. He 
got there in advance, but was careful to turn his chair in such 
a way as not to see Mathilde. 


Astonished one day at this consistent policy of hiding him 
self from her, she left the blue sofa and came to work by the 
little table near the marechale's armchair. Julien had a fairly 
close view of her over madame de Fervaques' hat. 

Those eyes, which were the arbiters of his fate, frightened 
him, and then hurled him violently out of his habitual apathy. 
He talked, and talked very well. 

He was speaking to the marechale, but his one aim was to 
produce an impression upon Mathilde's soul. He became 
so animated that eventually madame de Fervaques did not 
manage to understand a word he said. 

This was a prime merit. If it had occurred to Julien to 
follow it up by some phrases of German mysticism, lofty 
religion, and Jesuitism, the marechale would have immediately 
given him a rank among the superior men whose mission it 
was to regenerate the age. 

" Since he has bad enough taste," said mademoiselle de la 
Mole, " to talk so long and so ardently to madame de Fervaques, 
I shall not listen to him any more." She kept her resolution 
during the whole latter part of the evening, although she had 
difficulty in doing so. 

At midnight, when she took her mother's candle to accom- 
pany her to her room, madame de la Mole stopped on the 
staircase to enter into an exhaustive eulogy of Julien. Mathilde 
ended by losing her temper. She could not get to sleep. She 
felt calmed by this thought : " the very things which I despise 
in a man may none the less constitute a great merit in the 
eyes of the marechale." 

As for Julien, he had done something, he was less unhappy ; 
his eyes chanced to fall on the Russian leather poitfolio in 
which prince Korasoff had placed the fifty-three love letters 
which he had presented to him. Julien saw a nott at the 
bottom of the first letter : No. i is sent eight days after the 
first meeting. 

" I am behind hand," exclaimed Julien. " It is quite a long 
time since I met madame de Fervaques." He immediately 
began to copy out this first love letter. It was a homily packed 
with moral platitudes and deadly dull. Julien was fortunate 
enough to fall asleep at the second page. 

Some hours afterwards he was surprised to see the broad 
daylight as he lent on his desk. The most painful moments 


in his life were those when he woke up every morning to 
realise his unhappiness. On this particular day he finished 
copying out his letter in a state verging on laughter. " Is it 
possible," he said to himself, " that there ever lived a young 
man who actually wrote like that." He counted several 
sentences of nine lines each. At the bottom of the original 
he noticed a pencilled note. "These letters are delivered 
personally, on horseback, black cravat, blue tail-coat. You 
give the letter to the porter with a contrite air ; expression of 
profound melancholy. If you notice any chambermaid, dry 
your eyes furtively and speak to her." 

All this was duly carried out. 

" I am taking a very bold course ! " thought Julien as he 
came out of the hotel de Fervaques, "but all the worse for 
Korasoff. To think of daring to write to so virtuous a 
celebrity. I shall be treated with the utmost contempt, and 
nothing will amuse me more. It is really the only comedy 
that I can in any way appreciate. Yes, it will amuse me to 
load with ridicule that odious creature whom I call myself. 
If I believed in myself, I would commit some crime to distract 

The moment when Julien brought his horse back to the 
stable was the happiest he had experienced for a whole month. 
Korasoff had expressly forbidden him to look at the mistress 
who had left him, on any pretext whatsoever. But the step 
of that horse, which she knew so well, and Julien's way of 
knocking on the stable door with his riding-whip to call a 
man, sometimes attracted Mathilde to behind the window- 
curtain. The muslin was so light that Julien could see 
through it. By looking under the brim of his hat in a certain 
way, he could get a view of Mathilde's figure without seeing 
her eyes. "Consequently," he said to himself, "she cannot 
see mine, and that is not really looking at her." 

In the evening madame de Fervaques behaved towards him, 
exactly as though she had never received the philosophic 
mystical and religious dissertation which he had given to her 
porter in the morning with so melancholy an air. Chance 
had shown Julien on the preceding day how to be eloquent ; 
he placed himself in such a position that he could see 
Mathilde's eyes. She, on her side, left the blue sofa a minute 
after the marechale's arrival; this involved abandoning her 



usual associates. M. de Croisenois seemed overwhelmed by 
this new caprice : his palpable grief alleviated the awfulness 
of Julien's agony. 

This unexpected turn in his life made him talk like an 
angel, and inasmuch as a certain element of self-appreciation 
will insinuate itself even into those hearts which serve as a 
temple for the most august virtue, the marechale said to her- 
self as she got into her carriage, " Madame de la Mole is 
right, this young priest has distinction. My presence must 
have overawed him at first. As a matter of fact, the whole 
tone of this house is very frivolous; I can see nothing but 
instances of virtue helped by oldness, and standing in great 
need of the chills of age. This young man must have 
managed to appreciate the difference; he writes well, but I 
fear very much that this request of his in his letter for me to 
enlighten him with my advice, is really nothing less than an, 
as yet, unconscious sentiment. 

" Nevertheless how many conversions have begun like that ! 
What makes me consider this a good omen is the difference 
between his style and that of the young people whose letters 
I have had an opportunity of seeing. One cannot avoid 
recognising unction, profound seriousness, and much con- 
viction in the prose of this young acolyte ; he has no doubt 
the sweet virtue of a Massillon." 



Services ! talents ! merits ! bah ! belong to a coterie. 


The idea of a bishopric had thus become associated with 
the idea of Julien in the mind of a woman, who would sooner 
or later have at her disposal the finest places in the Church 
of France. This idea had not struck Julien at all; at the 
present time his thoughts were strictly limited to his actual 
unhappiness. Everything tended to intensify it. The sight 
of his room, for instance, had become unbearable. When he 
came back in the evening with his candle, each piece of 
furniture and each little ornament seemed to become articulate, 
and to announce harshly some new phase of his unhappiness. 

" I have a hard task before me to-day," he said to himself 
as he came in with a vivacity which he had not experienced 
for a long time; "let us hope that the second letter will be 
as boring as the first." 

It was more so. What he was copying seemed so absurd 
that he finished up by transcribing it line for line without 
thinking of the sense. 

" It is even more bombastic," he said to himself, " than 
those official documents of the treaty of Munster which my 
professor of diplomacy made me copy out at London." 

It was only then that he remembered madame de Fervaque's 
letters which he had forgotten to give back to the grave 
Spaniard Don Diego Bustos. He found them. They were 
really almost as nonsensical as those of the young Russian 
nobleman. Their vagueness was unlimited. It meant every- 
thing and nothing. , " It's the JEoY\z.w harp of style," thought 
Tulien. "The only real thing I see in the middle of all these 


lofty thoughts about annihilation, death, infinity, etc., is an 
abominable fear of ridicule." 

The monologue which we have just condensed was repeated 
for fifteen days on end. Falling off to sleep as he copied out 
a sort of commentary on the Apocalypse, going with a 
melancholy expression to deliver it the following day, taking 
his horse back to the stable in the hope of catching sight 
of Mathilde's dress, working, going in the evening to the 
opera on those evenings when madame de Fervaques did not 
come to the hdtel de la Mole, such were the monotonous 
events in Julien's life. His life had more interest, when 
madame la Fervaques visited the marquise ; he could then 
catch a glimpse of Mathilde's eyes underneath a feather of 
the marechale's hat, and he would wax eloquent. His pictur- 
esque and sentimental phrases began to assume a style, which 
was both more striking and more elegant. 

He quite realised that what he said was absurd in Mathilde's 
eyes, but he wished to impress her by the elegance of his 
diction. " The falser my speeches are the more I ought to 
please," thought Julien, and he then had the abominable 
audacity to exaggerate certain elements in his own character. 
He soon appreciated that to avoid appearing vulgar in the 
eyes of the marechale it was necessary to eschew simple and 
rational ideas. He would continue on these lines, or would 
cut short his grand eloquence according as he saw appreciation 
or indifference in the eyes of the two great ladies whom he 
had set out to please. 

Taking it all round, his life was less awful than when his 
days were passed in inaction. 

" But," he said to himself one evening, " here I am copying 
out the fifteenth of these abominable dissertations ; the first 
fourteen have been duly delivered to the marechale's porter. 
I shall have the honour of filling all the drawers in her 
escritoire. And yet she treats me as though I never wrote. 
What can be the end of all this ? Will my constancy bore 
her as much as it does me ? I must admit that that Russian 
friend of Korasoff's who was in love with the pretty Quakeress 
of Richmond, was a terrible man in his time ; no one could 
be more overwhelming." 

Like all mediocre individuals, who chance to come into 
contact with the manoeuvres of a great general, Julien under- 


stood nothing of the attack executed by the young Russian 
on the heart of the young English girl. The only purpose 
of the first forty letters was to secure forgiveness for the bold- 
ness of writing at all. The sweet person, who perhaps lived 
a life of inordinate boredom, had to be induced to contract 
the habit of receiving letters, which were perhaps a little less 
insipid that her everyday life. 

One morning a letter was delivered to Julien. He recog- 
nised the arms of madame la Fervaques, and broke the seal 
with an eagerness which would have seemed impossible to 
him some days before. It was only an. invitation to dinner. 

He rushed to prince KorasofFs instructions. Unfortunately 
the young Russian had taken it into his head to be as 
flippant as Dorat, just when he should have been simple and 
intelligible ! Julien was not able to form any idea of the moral 
position which he ought to take up at the marechale's dinner. 

The salon was extremely magnificent and decorated like the 
gallery de Diane in the Tuilleries with panelled oil-paintings. 

There were some light spots on these pictures. Julien 
learnt later that the mistress of the house had thought the 
subject somewhat lacking in decency and that she had had 
the pictures corrected. " What a moral century ! " he thought. 

He noticed in this salon three of the persons who had been 
present at the drawing up of the secret note. One of them, 

my lord bishop of the marechale's uncle had the 

disposition of the ecclesiastical patronage, and could, it was 
said, refuse his niece nothing. " What immense progress I 
have made," said Julien to himself with a melancholy smile, 
" and how indifferent I am to it. Here I am dining with the 
famous bishop of ." 

The dinner was mediocre and the conversation wearisome. 

" It's like the small talk in a bad book," thought Julien. 
" All the greatest subjects of human thought are proudly 
tackled. After listening for three minutes one asks oneself 
which is greater the speaker's bombast, or his abominable 
ignorance ? " 

The reader has doubtless forgotten the little man of letters 
named Tanbeau, who was the nephew of the Academician, 
and intended to be professor, who seemed entrusted with the 
task of Doisoning the salon of the hotel de la Mole with his 
base cahmnies. 


It was this little man who gave Julien the first inkling that 
though madame de Fervaques did not answer, she might quite 
well take an indulgent view of the sentiment which dictated 
them. M. Tanbeau's sinister soul was lacerated by the 
thought of Julien's success ; " but since, on the other hand, a 
man of merit cannot be in two places at the same time any 
more than a fool," said the future professor to himself, "if 
Sorel becomes the lover of the sublime marechale, she will 
obtain some lucrative position for him in the church, and I 
shall be rid of him in the hdtel de la Mole." 

M. the abbe Pirard addressed long sermons to Julien 
concerning his success at the hotel de Fervaques. There was 
a sectarian jealousy between the austere Jansenist and the 
salon of the virtuous marechale which was Jesuitical, re- 
actionary, and monarchical. 



Accordingly once he was thoroughly convinced of 
the asinine stupidity of the prior, he would usually 
succeed well enough by calling white black, and black 
white. Lickiemberg. 

The Russian instructions peremptorily forbade the writer 
from ever contradicting in conversation the recipient of the 
letters. No pretext could excuse any deviation from the role 
of that most estatic admiration. The letters were always based 
on that hypothesis. 

One evening at the opera, when in madame de Fervaques' 
box, Julien spoke of the ballet of Manon Lescaut in the most 
enthusiastic terms. His only reason for talking in that strain 
was the fact that he thought it insignificant. 

The marechale said that the ballet was very inferior to the 
abbe Prevost's novel. 

"The idea," thought Julien, both surprised and amused, 
" of so highly virtuous a person praising a novel ! Madame 
de Fervaques used to profess two or three times a week the 
most absolute contempt for those writers, who, by means of 
their insipid works, try to corrupt a youth which is, alas ! only 
too inclined to the errors of the senses." 

" Manon Lescaut" continued the marechale, " is said to 
be one of the best of this immoral and dangerous type of 
book. The weaknesses and the deserved anguish of a criminal 
heart are, they say, portrayed with a truth which is not lacking 
in depth ; a fact which does not prevent your Bonaparte 
from stating at St. Helena that it is simply a novel written 
for lackeys." 

The word Bonaparte restored to Julien all the activity of 
his mind. " They have tried to ruin me with the marechale ; 


they have told her of my enthusiasm for Napoleon. This 
fact has sufficiently piqued her to make her yield to the 
temptation to make me feel it." This discovery amused him 
all the evening, and rendered him amusing. As he took leave 
of the marechale in the vestibule of the opera, she said to him, 
" Remember, monsieur, one must not like Bonaparte if you 
like me ; at the best he can only be accepted as a necessity 
imposed by Providence. Besides, the man did not have a 
sufficiently supple soul to appreciate masterpieces of art." 

" When you like me," Julien kept on repeating to himself, 
" that means nothing or means everything. Here we have 
mysteries of language which are beyond us poor provincials." 
And he thought a great deal about madame de Renal, as he 
copied out an immense letter destined for the marechale. 

" How is it," she said to him the following day, with an 
assumed indifference which he thought was clumsily assumed, 
' that you talk to me about London and Richmond in a letter 
which you wrote last night, I think, when you came back 
from the opera ? " 

Julien was very embarrassed. He had copied line by line 
without thinking about what he was writing, and had apparently 
forgotten to substitute Paris and Saint Cloud for the words 
London and Richmond which occurred in the original. He 
commenced two or three sentences, but found it impossible to 
finish them. He felt on the point of succumbing to a fit of 
idiotic laughter. Finally by picking his words he succeeded 
in formulating this inspiration : " Exalted as I was by the 
discussion of the most sublime and greatest interests of the 
human soul, my own soul may have been somewhat absent in 
my letter to you." 

" I am making an impression," he said to himself, " so I 
can spare myself the boredom of the rest of the evening." He 
left the hotel de Fervaques at a run. In the evening he had 
another look at the original of the letter which he had copied 
out on the previous night, and soon came to the fatal place 
where the young Russian made mention of London and of 
Richmond. Julien was very astonished to find this letter 
almost tender. 

It had been the contrast between the apparent lightness of 
his conversation, and the sublime and almost apocalyptic 
profundity of his letters which had marked him out for 


favour. The marechale was particularly pleased by the 
longness of the sentences ; this was very far from being that 
sprightly style which that immoral man Voltaire had brought 
into fashion. Although our hero made every possible human 
effort to eliminate from his conversation any symptom of good 
sense, it still preserved a certain anti-monarchical and blasphem- 
ous tinge which did not escape madame de Fervaques. 
Surrounded as she was by persons who, though eminently 
moral, had very often not a single idea during a whole evening, 
this lady was profoundly struck by anything resembling a 
novelty, but at the same time she thought she owed it to 
herself to be offended by it. She called this defect : Keeping 
the imprint of the lightness of the age. 

But such salons are only worth observing when one has a 
favour to procure. The reader doubtless shares all the ennui 
of the colourless life which Julien was leading. This period 
represents the steppes of our journey. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole needed to exercise her self- 
control to avoid thinking of Julien during the whole period 
filled by the de Fervaques episode. Her soul was a prey to 
violent battles; sometimes she piqued herself on despising 
that melancholy young man, but his conversation captivated 
her in spite of herself. She was particularly astonished by his 
absolute falseness. He did not say a single word to the 
marechale which was not a lie, or at any rate, an abominable 
travesty of his own way of thinking, which Mathilde knew so 
perfectly in every phase. This Macchiavellianiasm impressed 
her. " What subtlety," she said to herself. " What a 
difference between the bombastic coxcombs, or the common 
rascals like Tanbeau who talk in the same strain." 

Nevertheless Julien went through awful days. It was only 
to accomplish the most painful of duties that he put in a daily 
appearance in the marechale's salon. 

The strain of playing a part ended by depriving his mind of 
all its strength. As he crossed each night the immense court- 
yard of the hotel de Fervaques, it was only through sheer force 
in character and logic that he succeeded in keeping a little 
above the level of despair. 

" I overcame despair at the seminary," he said, " yet what 
an awful prospect I had then. I was then either going to make 
my fortune or come to grief just as I am now. I found my- 


self obliged to pass all my life in intimate association with the 
most contemptible and disgusting things in the whole world. 
The following spring, just eleven short months later, I was 
perhaps the happiest of all young people of my own age." 

But very often all this fine logic proved unavailing against 
the awful reality. He saw Mathilde every day at breakfast and 
at dinner. He knew from the numerous letters which de la 
Mole dictated to him that she was on the eve of marrying de 
Croisenois. This charming man already called twice a day at 
the hdtel de la Mole; the jealous eye of a jilted lover was 
alive to every one of his movements. When he thought he 
had noticed that mademoiselle de la Mole was beginning to 
encourage her intended, Julien could not help looking tenderly 
at his pistols as he went up to his room. 

" Ah," he said to himself, " would it not be much wiser to 
take the marks out of my linen and to go into some solitary 
forest twenty leagues from Paris to put an end to this atrocious 
life ? I should be unknown in the district, my death would 
remain a secret for a fortnight, and who would bother about 
me after a fortnight ? " 

This reasoning was very logical. But on the following day 
a glimpse of Mathilde's arm between the sleeve of her dress 
and her glove sufficed to plunge our young philosopher into 
memories which, though agonising, none the less gave him a 
hold on life. " Well," he said to himself, " I will follow this 
Russian plan to the end. How will it all finish ? " 

" So far as the marechale is concerned, after I have copied 
out these fifty-three letters, I shall not write any others. 

" As for Mathilde, these six weeks of painful acting will either 
leave her anger unchanged, or will win me a moment of 
reconciliation. Great God ! I should die of happiness." 
And he could not finish his train of thought. 

After a long reverie he succeeded in taking up the thread 
of his argument. " In that case," he said to himself, " I should 
win one day of happiness, and after that her cruelties which 
are based, alas, on my lack of ability to please her will 
recommence. I should have nothing left to do, I should be 
ruined and lost for ever. With such a character as hers what 
guarantee can she give me ? Alas ! My manners are no doubt 
lacking in elegance, and my style of speech is heavy and 
monotonous. Great God, why am I myself?" 



Sacrificing one's self to one's passions, let it pass ; but 
sacrificing one's self to passions which one has not got ! 
Oh ! melancholy nineteenth century ! 


Madame de Fervaques had begun reading Julien's long 
letters without any pleasure, but she now began to think about 
them ; one thing, however, grieved her. " What a pity that 
M. Sorel was not a real priest ! He could then be admitted 
to a kind of intimacy ; but in view of that cross, and that 
almost lay dress, one is exposed to cruel questions and what is 
one to answer?" She did not finish the train of thought, 
" Some malicious woman friend may think, and even spread it 
about that he is some lower middle-class cousin or other, a 
relative of my father, some tradesman who has been decorated 
by the National Guard." Up to the time which she had seen 
Julien, madame de Fervaque's greatest pleasure had been 
writing the word marechale after her name. Consequently a 
morbid parvenu vanity, which was ready to take umbrage at 
everything, combatted the awakening of her interest in him. 
" It would be so easy for me," said the marechale, " to make 
him a grand vicar in some diocese near Paris ! but plain M. 
Sorel, and what is more, a man who is the secretary of M. 
de la Mole ! It is heart-breaking." 

For the first time in her life this soul, which was afraid of 
everything, was moved by an interest which was alien to its 
own pretensions to rank and superiority. Her old porter 
noticed that whenever he brought a letter from this handsome 
young man, who always looked so sad, he was certain to see 
that absent, discontented expression, which the marechale 


always made a point of assuming on the entry of any of her 
servants, immediately disappear. The boredom of a mode of 
life whose ambitions were concentrated on impressing the 
public without her having at heart any real faculty of enjoy- 
ment for that kind of success, had become so intolerable since 
she had begun to think of Julien that, all that was necessary 
to prevent her chambermaids being bullied for a whole day, 
was that their mistress should have passed an hour in the society 
of this strange young man on the evening of the preceding 
day. His budding credit was proof against very cleverly 
written anonymous letters. It was in vain that Tanbeau 
supplied M. de Luz, de Croisenois, de Caylus, with two or three 
very clever calumnies which these gentlemen were only too 
glad to spread, without making too many enquiries of the 
actual truth of the charges. The marechale, whose tempera- 
ment was not calculated to be proof against these vulgar 
expedients related her doubts to Mathilde, and was always 
consoled by her. 

One day, madame de Fervaques, after having asked three times 
if there were any letters for her, suddenly decided to answer 
Julien. It was a case of the triumph of ennui. On reaching 
the second letter in his name the marechale almost felt herself 
pulled up sharp by the unbecomingness of writing with her own 
hand so vulgar an address as to M. Sorel, care of M. le 
Marquis de la Mole. 

" You must bring me envelopes with your address on," she 
said very drily to Julien in the evening. " Here I am appointed 
lover and valet in one," thought Julien, and he bowed, amused 
himself by wrinkling his face up like Arsene, the old valet of 
the marquis. 

He brought the envelopes that very evening, and he received 
the third letter very early on the following day : he read five 
or six lines at the beginning, and two or three towards the end. 
There were four pages of a small and very close writing. The 
lady gradually developed the sweet habit of writing nearly every 
day. Julien answered by faithful copies of the Russian letters ; 
and such is the advantage of the bombastic style that madame 
de Fervaques was not a bit astonished by the lack of connec- 
tion between his answers and her letters. How gravely 
irritated would her pride have been if the little Tanbeau who 
had constituted himself a voluntary spy on all Julien's move- 

ENNUI 429 

ments had been able to have informed her that all these letters 
were left unsealed and thrown haphazard into Julien's drawer. 

One morning the porter was bringing into the library a 
letter to him from the marechale. Mathilde met the man, saw 
the letter together with the address in Julien's handwriting. 
She entered the library as the porter was leaving it, the letter 
was still on the edge of the table. Julien was very busy with 
his work and had not yet put it in his drawer. 

" I cannot endure this," exclaimed Mathilde, as she took 
possession of the letter, "you are completely forgetting me, 
me your wife, your conduct is awful, monsieur." 

At these words her pride, shocked by the awful unseem- 
liness of her proceeding, prevented her from speaking. She 
burst into tears, and soon seemed to Julien scarcely able to 

Julien was so surprised and embarrassed that he did not 
fully appreciate how ideally fortunate this scene was for 
himself. He helped Mathilde to sit down ; she almost 
abandoned herself in his arms. 

The first minute in which he noticed this movement, he felt 
an extreme joy. Immediately afterwards, he thought of 
Korasoff : " I may lose everything by a single word." 

The strain of carrying out his tactics was so great that his 
arms stiffened. " I dare not even allow myself to press this 
supple, charming frame to my heart, or she will despise me or 
treat me badly. What an awful character ! " And while he 
cursed Mathilde's character, he loved her a hundred times 
more. He thought he had a queen in his arms. 

Julien's impassive coldness intensified the anguished pride 
which was lacerating the soul of mademoiselle de la Mole. 
She was far from having the necessary self-possession to try 
and read in his eyes what he felt for her at that particular 
moment. She could not make up her mind to look at him. 
She trembled lest she might encounter a contemptuous 

Seated motionless on the library divan, with her head 
turned in the opposite direction to Julien, she was a prey to 
the most poignant anguish that pride and love can inflict upon 
a human soul. What an awful step had she just slipped into 
taking ! " It has been reserved for me, unhappy woman that 
I am, to see my most unbecoming advances rebuffed ! and 


rebuffed by whom?" added her maddened and wounded 
pride; "rebuffed by a servant of my father's! That's more 
than I will put up with," she said aloud, and rising in a fury, 
she opened the drawer of Julien's table, which was two yards 
in front of her. 

She stood petrified with horror when she saw eight or ten 
unopened letters, completely like the one the porter had just 
brought up. She recognised Julien's handwriting, though 
more or less disguised, on all the addresses. 

" So," she cried, quite beside herself, " you are not only on 
good terms with her, but you actually despise her. You, a 
nobody, despise madame la marechale de Fervaques ! " 

" Oh, forgive me, my dear," she added, throwing herself on 
her knees ; " despise me if you wish, but love me. I cannot 
live without your love." And she fell down in a dead faint. 

"So our proud lady is lying at my feet," said Julien to 



As the blackest sky 
Foretells the heaviest tempest 

Don Juan, c. I. st. 76. 

In the midst of these great transports Julien felt more 
surprised than happy. Mathilde's abuse proved to him the 
shrewdness of the Russian tactics. " ' Few words, few 
deeds,' that is my one method of salvation." He picked up 
Mathilde, and without saying a word, put her back on the 
divan. She was gradually being overcome by tears. 

In order to keep herself in countenance, she took madame 
de Fervaques' letters in her hands, and slowly broke the seals. 
She gave a noticeable nervous movement when she recognised 
the marechale's handwriting. She turned over the pages of 
these letters without reading them. Most of them were six 

"At least answer me," Mathilde said at last, in the most 
supplicatory tone, but without daring to look at Julien : " You 
know how proud I am. It is the misfortune of my position, 
and of my temperament, too, I confess. Has madame de 
Fervaques robbed me of your heart? Has she made the 
sacrifices to which my fatal love swept me ? " 

A dismal silence was all Julien's answer. " By what right," 
he thought, "does she ask me to commit an indiscretion 
unworthy of an honest man?" Mathilde tried to read the 
letters ; her eyes were so wet with tears that it was impossible 
for her to do so. She had been unhappy for a month past, 
but this haughty soul had been very far from owning its own 
feelings even to itself. Chance alone had brought about this 
explosion. For one instant jealousy and love had won a 


victory over pride. She was sitting on the divan, and very 
near him. He saw her hair and her alabaster neck. For a 
moment he forgot all he owed to himself. He passed his arm 
around her waist, and clasped her almost to his breast. 

She slowly turned her head towards him. He was astonished 
by the extreme anguish in her eyes. There was not a trace 
of their usual expression. 

Julien felt his strength desert him. So great was the deadly 
pain of the courageous feat which he was imposing on himself. 

"Those eyes will soon express nothing but the coldest 
disdain," said Julien to himself, " if I allow myself to be swept 
away by the happiness of loving her." She, however, kept 
repeatedly assuring him at this moment, in a hushed voice, 
and in words which she had scarcely the strength to finish, of 
all her remorse for those steps which her inordinate pride had 

" I, too, have pride," said Julien to her, in a scarcely 
articulate voice, while his features portrayed the lowest depths 
of physical prostration. 

Mathilde turned round sharply towards him. Hearing his 
voice was a happiness which she had given up hoping. At 
this moment her only thought of her haughtiness was to curse 
it. She would have liked to have found out some abnormal 
and incredible actions, in order to prove to him the extent to 
which she adored him and detested herself. 

" That pride is probably the reason," continued Julien, 
" why you singled me out for a moment. My present 
courageous and manly firmness is certainly the reason why 
you respect me. I may entertain love for the marechale." 

Mathilde shuddered ; a strange expression came into her 
eyes. She was going to hear her sentence pronounced. This 
shudder did not escape Julien. He felt his courage weaken. 

" Ah," he said to himself, as he listened to the sound of the 
vain words which his mouth was articulating, as he thought it 
were some strange sound, " if I could only cover those pale 
cheeks with kisses without your feeling it." 

" I may entertain love for the marechale," he continued, 
while his voice became weaker and weaker, " but I certainly 
have no definite proof of her interest in me." 

Mathilde looked at him. He supported that look. He 
hoped, at anynate, that his expression had not betrayed him. 


He felt himself bathed in a love that penetrated even into the 
most secret recesses of his heart. He had never adored her 
so much ; he was almost as mad as Mathilde. If she had 
mustered sufficient self-possession and courage to manoeuvre, 
he would have abandoned all his play-acting, and fallen at her 
feet. He had sufficient strength to manage to continue 
speaking : " Ah, Korasoff," he exclaimed mentally, " why are 
you not here ? How I need a word from you to guide me in 
my conduct." During this time his voice was saying, 

"In default of any other sentiment, gratitude would be 
sufficient to attach me to the marechale. She has been 
indulgent to me ; she has consoled me when I have been 
despised. I cannot put unlimited faith in certain appearances 
which are, no doubt, extremely flattering, but possibly very 

" Oh, my God ! " exclaimed Mathilde. 

u Well, what guarantee will you give me ? " replied Julien 
with a sharp, firm intonation, which seemed to abandon for a 
moment the prudent forms of diplomacy. " What guarantee, 
what god will warrant that the position to which you seem 
inclined to restore me at the present moment will last more 
than two days ? " 

" The excess of my love, and my unhappiness if you do not 
love me," she said to him, taking his hands and turning 
towards him. 

The spasmodic movement which she had just made had 
slightly displaced her tippet; Julien caught a view of her 
charming shoulders. Her slightly dishevelled hair recalled a 
delicious memory. . . . 

He was on the point of succumbing. " One imprudent 
word," he said to himself, " and I have to start all over again 
that long series of days which I have passed in despair. 
Madame de Renal used to find reasons for doing what her 
heart dictated. This young girl of high society never allows 
her heart to be moved except when she has proved to herself 
by sound logic that it ought to be moved." 

He saw this proof in the twinkling of an eye, and in the 
twinkling of an eye too, he regained his courage. He took 
away his hands which Mathilde was pressing in her own, and 
moved a little away from her with a marked respect. 

Human courage could not go further. He then busied 



himself with putting together madame de Fervaque's letters 
which were spread out on the divan, and it was with all the 
appearance of extreme politeness that he cruelly exploited the 
psychological moment by adding, 

" Mademoiselle de la Mole will allow me to reflect over all 
this." He went rapidly away and left the library ; she heard 
him shut all the doors one after the other. 

"The monster is not the least bit troubled," she said to 
herself. " But what am I saying ? Monster ? He is wise, 
prudent, good. It is I myself who have committed more 
wrong than one can imagine." 

This point of view lasted. Mathilde was almost happy to- 
day, for she gave herself up to love unreservedly. One would 
have said that this soul had never been disturbed by pride 
(and what pride !) 

She shuddered with horror when a lackey announced 
madame le Fervaques into the salon in the evening. The 
man's voice struck her as sinister. She could not endure the 
sight of the marechale, and stopped suddenly. Julien who 
had felt little pride over his painful victory, had feared to face 
her, and had not dined at the hotel de la Mole. 

His love and his happiness rapidly increased in proportion 
to the time that elapsed from the moment of the battle. He 
was blaming himself already. " How could I resist her?" he 
said to himself. "Suppose she were to go and leave off 
loving me ! One single moment may change that haughty 
soul, and I must admit that I have treated her awfully." 

In the evening he felt that it was absolutely necessary to 
put in an appearance at the Bouffes in madame de Fervaques' 
box. She had expressly invited him. Mathilde would be 
bound to know of his presence or his discourteous absence. 
In spite of the clearness of this logic, he could not at the 
beginning of the evening bring himself to plunge into society. 
By speaking he would lose half his happiness. Ten o'clock 
struck and it was absolutely necessary to show himself. 
Luckily he found the marechale's box packed with women, and 
was relegated to a place near the door where he was completely 
hidden by the hats. This position saved him from looking 
ridiculous ; Caroline's divine notes of despair in the Alatrimonio 
Segreto made him burst into tears. Madame de Fervaques 
saw these tears. They represented so great a contrast with 


the masculine firmness of his usual expression that the soul of 
the old-fashioned lady, saturated as it had been for many years 
with all the corroding acid of parvenu haughtiness, was none 
the less touched. Such remnants of a woman's heart as she 
still possessed impelled her to speak : she wanted to enjoy the 
sound of his voice at this moment. 

" Have you seen the de la Mole ladies ? " she said to him. 
" They are in the third tier." Julien immediately craned out 
over the theatre, leaning politely enough on the front of the 
box. He saw Mathilde ; her eyes were shining with tears. 

" And yet it is not their Opera day," thought Julien ; " how 
eager she must be ! " 

Mathilde had prevailed on her mother to come to the 
Bouffes in spite of the inconveniently high tier of the box, 
which a lady friend of the family had hastened to offer her. 
She wanted to see if Julien would pass the evening with the 



So this is the fine miracle of your civilisation ; you have, 
turned love into an ordinary business. Bat nave. 

Julien rushed into madame de la Mole's box. His eyes 
first met the tearful eyes of Mathilde ; she was crying without 
reserve. There were only insignificant personages present, 
the friend who had leant her box, and some men whom she 
knew. Mathilde placed her hand on Julien's ; she seemed to 
have forgotten all fear of her mother. Almost stifled as she 
was by her tears, she said nothing but this one word : 
" Guarantees ! " 

" So long as I don't speak to her," said Julien to himself. 
He was himself very moved, and concealed his eyes with his 
hand as best he could under the pretext of avoiding the dazzling 
light of the third tier of boxes. " If I speak she may suspect 
the excess of my emotion, the sound of my voice will betray 
me. All may yet be lost. His struggles were more painful 
than they had been in the morning, his soul had had the time 
to become moved. He had been frightened at seeing 
Mathilde piqued with vanity. Intoxicated as he was with love 
and pleasure he resolved not to speak. 

In my view this is one of the finest traits in his character, 
an individual capable of such an effort of self-control may go 
far si fata sinant. 

Mademoiselle de la Mole insisted on taking Julien back to 
the hotel. Luckily it was raining a great deal, but the 
marquise had him placed opposite her, talked to him in- 
cessantly, and prevented him saying a single word to her 
daughter. One might have thought that the marquise was 
nursing Julien's happiness for him \ no longer fearing to lose 


everything through his excessive emotion, he madly abandoned 
himself to his happiness. 

Shall I dare to say that when he went back to his room 
Julien fell on his knees and covered with kisses the love letters 
which prince Korasoff had given him. 

" How much I owe you, great man," he exclaimed in his 
madness. Little by little he regained his self-possession. He 
compared himself to a general who had just won a great battle. 
" My advantage is definite and immense," he said to himself, 
" but what will happen to-morrow ? One instant may ruin 

With a passionate gesture he opened the Memoirs which 
Napoleon had dictated at St. Helena and for two long hours 
forced himself to read them. Only his eyes read ; no matter, 
he made himself do it. During this singular reading his head 
and his heart rose to the most exalted level and worked un- 
consciously. " Her heart is very different from madame de 
Renal's," he said to himself, but he did not go further. 

" Frighten her ! " he suddenly exclaimed, hurling away the 
book. " The enemy will only obey me in so far as I frighten 
him, but then he will not dare to show contempt for me." 

Intoxicated with joy he walked up and down his little room. 
In point of fact his happiness was based rather on pride than 
on love. 

" Frighten her ! " he repeated proudly, and he had cause to 
be proud. 

" Madame de Renal always doubted even in her happiest 
moments if my love was equal to her own. In this case I 
have to subjugate a demon, consequently I must subjugate 
her." He knew quite well that Mathilde would be in the 
library at eight o'clock in the morning of the following day. 
He did not appear before nine o'clock. He was burning with 
love, but his head dominated his heart. 

Scarcely a single minute passed without his repeating to 
himself. " Keep her obsessed by this great doubt. Does he 
love me ? " Her own brilliant position, together with the 
flattery of all who speak to her, tend a little too much to make 
her reassure herself. 

He found her sitting on the divan pale and calm, but 
apparently completely incapable of making a single movement. 
She held out her hand, 


" Dear one, it is true I have offended you, perhaps you are 
angry with me." 

Julien had not been expecting this simple tone. He was on 
the point of betraying himself. 

" You want guarantees, my dear, she added after a silence 
which she had hoped would be broken. Take me away, let 
us leave for London. I shall be ruined, dishonoured for 
ever." She had the courage to take her hand away from 
Julien to cover her eyes with it. 

All her feelings of reserve and feminine virtue had come 
back into her soul. " Well, dishonour me," she said at last 
with a sigh, " that will be a guarantee." 

" I was happy yesterday, because I had the courage to be 
severe with myself," thought Julien. After a short silence he 
had sufficient control over his heart to say in an icy tone, 

"Once we are on the road to London, once you are 
dishonoured, to employ your own expression, who will answer 
that you will still love me ? that my very presence in the post- 
chaise will not seem importunate? I am not a monster; to 
have ruined your reputation will only make me still more 
unhappy. It is not your position in society which is the 
obstacle, it is unfortunately your own character. Can you 
yourself guarantee that you will love me for eight days ? " 

" Ah ! let her love me for eight days, just eight days," 
whispered Julien to himself, "and I will die of happiness. 
What do I care for the future, what do I care for life ? And 
yet if I wish that divine happiness can commence this very 
minute, it only depends on me." 

Mathild saw that he was pensive. 

" So I am completely unworthy of you," she said to him, 
taking his hand. 

Julien kissed her, but at the same time the iron hand of 
duty gripped his heart. If she sees how much I adore her I 
shall lose her. And before leaving her arms, he had reassumed 
all that dignity which is proper to a man. 

He managed on this and the following days to conceal his 
inordinate happiness. There were moments when he even 
refused himself the pleasure of clasping her in his arms. At 
other times the delirium of happiness prevailed over all the 
counsels of prudence. 

He had been accustomed to station himself near a bower of 


honeysuckle in the garden arranged in such a way so as to 
conceal the ladder when he had looked up at Mathilde's 
blind in the distance, and lamented her inconstancy. A very 
big oak tree was quite near, and the trunk of that tree 
prevented him from being seen by the indiscreet. 

As he passed with Mathilde over this very place which 
recalled his excessive unhappiness so vividly, the contrast 
between his former despair and his present happiness proved 
too much for his character. Tears inundated his eyes, and 
he carried his sweetheart's hand to his lips : "It was here I 
used to live in my thoughts of you, it was from here that I 
used to look at that blind, and waited whole hours for the 
happy moment when I would see that hand open it." 

His weakness was unreserved. He portrayed the extremity 
of his former despair in genuine colours which could not 
possibly have been invented. Short interjections testified 
to that present happiness which had put an end to that 
awful agony. 

" My God, what am I doing ? " thought Julien, suddenly 
recovering himself. " I am ruining myself." 

In his excessive alarm he thought that he already detected 
a diminution of the love in mademoiselle de la Mole's eyes. 
It was an illusion, but Julien's face suddenly changed its 
expression and became overspread by a mortal pallor. His 
eyes lost their fire, and an expression of haughtiness touched 
with malice soon succeeded to his look of the most genuine 
and unreserved love. 

" But what is the matter with you, my dear," said Mathilde 
to him, both tenderly and anxiously. 

" I am lying," said Julien irritably, " and I am lying to you. 
I am reproaching myself for it, and yet God knows that I 
respect you sufficiently not to lie to you. You love me, you 
are devoted to me, and I have no need of praises in order to 
please you." 

" Great heavens ! are all the charming things you have been 
telling me for the last two minutes mere phrases ? " 

" And I reproach myself for it keenly, dear one. I once 
made them up for a woman who loved me, and bored me it 
is the weakness of my character. I denounce myself to you, 
forgive me." 

Bitter tears streamed over Mathilde's cheeks. 


" As soon as some trifle offends me and throws me back on 
my meditation," continued Julien, " my abominable memory, 
which I curse at this very minute, offers me a resource, and I 
abuse it." 

"So I must have slipped, without knowing it, into some 
action which has displeased you," said Mathilde with a 
charming simplicity. 

" I remember one day that when you passed near this 
honeysuckle you picked a flower, M. de Luz took it from you 
and you let him keep it. I was two paces away." 

" M. de Luz? It is impossible," replied Mathilde with all 
her natural haughtiness. " I do not do things like that." 

" I am sure of it," Julien replied sharply. 

"Well, my dear, it is true," said Mathilde, as she sadly 
lowered her eyes. She knew positively that many months had 
elapsed since she had allowed M. de Luz to do such a thing. 

Julien looked at her with ineffable tenderness, " No," he 
said to himself, " she does not love me less." 

In the evening she rallied him with a laugh on his fancy for 
madame de Fervaques. "Think of a bourgeois loving a 
parvenu, those are perhaps the only type of hearts that my 
Julien cannot make mad with love. She has made you into 
a real dandy," she said playing with his hair. 

During the period when he thought himself scorned by 
Mathilde, Julien had become one of the best dressed men in 
Paris. He had, moreover, a further advantage over other 
dandies, in as much as once he had finished dressing he never 
gave a further thought to his appearance. 

One thing still piqued Mathilde, Julien continued to copy 
out the Russian letters and send them to the marechale. 



Alas, why these things and not other things? Beaitmarchais. 

An English traveller tells of the intimacy in which he lived 
with a tiger. He had trained it and would caress it, but he 
always kept a cocked pistol on his table. 

Julien only abandoned himself to the fulness of his 
happiness in those moments when Mathilde could not read 
the expression in his eyes. He scrupulously performed his 
duty of addressing some harsh word to her from time to time. 

When Mathiide's sweetness, which he noticed with some 
surprise, together with the completeness of her devotion were 
on the point of depriving him of all self-control, he was 
courageous enough to leave her suddenly. 

Mathilde loved for the first time in her life. 

Life had previously always dragged along at a tortoise pace, 
but now it flew. 

As, however, her pride required to find a vent in some way 
or other, she wished to expose herself to all the dangers in which 
her love could involve her. It was Julien who was prudent, 
and it was only when it was a question of danger that she did 
not follow her own inclination ; but submissive, and almost 
humble as she was when with him, she only showed additional 
haughtiness to everyone in the house who came near her, 
whether relatives or friends. 

In the evening she would call Julien to her in the salon 
in the presence of sixty people, and have a long and private 
conversation with him. 

The little Tanbeau installed himself one day close to them. 
She requested him to go and fetch from the library the 


volume of Smollet which deals with the revolution of 1688, 
and when he hesitated, added with an expression of insulting 
haughtiness, which was a veritable balm to Julien's soul, 
" Don't hurry." 

" Have you noticed that little monster's expression ? " he 
said to her. 

" His uncle has been in attendance in this salon for ten or 
twelve years, otherwise I would have had him packed off 

Her behaviour towards MM. de Croisenois, de Luz, etc., 
though outwardly perfectly polite, was in reality scarcely less 
provocative. Mathilde keenly reproached herself for all the 
confidential remarks about them which she had formerly made 
to Julien, and all the more so since she did not dare to confess 
that she had exaggerated to him the, in fact, almost absolutely- 
innocent manifestations of interest of which these gentlemen 
had been the objects. In spite of her best resolutions her 
womanly pride invariably prevented her from saying to Julien, 
" It was because I was talking to you that I found a pleasure 
in describing my weakness in not drawing my hand away, 
when M. de Croisenois had placed his on a marble table and 
had just touched it." 

But now, as soon as one of these gentlemen had been 
speaking to her for some moments, she found she had a 
question to put to Julien, and she made this an excuse for 
keeping him by her side. 

She discovered that she was enceinte and joyfully informed 
Julien of the fact. 

" Do you doubt me now ? Is it not a guarantee ? I am 
your wife for ever." 

This announcement struck Julien with profound astonish- 
ment. He was on the point of forgetttng the governing 
principle of his conduct. How am I to be deliberately cold 
and insulting towards this poor young girl, who is ruining 
herself for my sake. And if she looked at all ill, he could not, 
even on those days when the terrible voice of wisdom made 
itself heard, find the courage to address to her one of those 
harsh remarks which his experience had found so indispensable 
to the preservation of their love. 

" I will write to my father," said Mathilde to him one day, 
" he is more than a father to me, he is a friend ; that being 


so, I think it unworthy both of you and of myself to try and 
deceive him, even for a single minute." 

"Great heavens, what are you going to do?" said Julien 
in alarm. 

" My duty," she answered with eyes shining with joy. 

She thought she was showing more nobility than her lover. 

" But he will pack me off in disgrace." 

" It is his right to do so, we must respect it. I will give 
you my arm, and we will go out by the front door in full 

Julien was thunderstruck and requested her to put it off for 
a week. 

" I cannot," she answered, " it is the voice of honour, I 
have seen my duty, I must follow it, and follow it at 

"Well, I order you to put it off," said Julien at last. 
" Your honour is safe for the present. I am your husband. 
The position of us will be changed by this momentous step. I 
too am within my rights. To-day is Tuesday, next Tuesday 
is the duke de Retz's at home ; when M. de la Mole comes 
home in the evening the porter will give him the fatal letter. 
His only thought is to make you a duchess, I am sure of it. 
Think of his unhappiness." 

" You mean, think of his vengeance? " 

" It may be that I pity my benefactor, and am grieved at 
injuring him, but I do not fear, and shall never fear anyone." 

Mathilde yielded. This was the first occasion, since she 
had informed Julien of her condition, that he had spo\en to 
her authoritatively. She had never loved him so much. 
The tender part of his soul had found happiness in seizing 
on Mathilde's condition as an excuse for refraining from his 
cruel remarks to her. The question of the confession to 
M. de la Mole deeply moved him. Was he going to be 
separated from Mathilde? And, however grieved she would 
be to see him go, would she have a thought for him after his 
departure ? 

He was almost equally horrified by the thought of the 
justified reproaches which the marquis might address to him. 

In the evening he confessed to Mathilde the second reason 
for his anxiety, and then led away by his love, confessed the 
first as well. 


She changed colour. " Would it really make you unhappy," 
she said to him, "to pass six months far away from me?" 

"Infinitely so. It is the only thing in the world which 
terrifies me." 

Mathilde was very happy. Julien had played his part so 
assiduously that he had succeeded in making her think that 
she was the one of the two who loved the more. 

The fatal Tuesday arrived. When the marquis came in at 
midnight he found a letter addressed to him, which was only 
to be opened himself when no one was there : 

" My father, 

"All social ties have been broken between us, only 
those of nature remain. Next to my husband, you are and 
always will be the being I shall always hold most dear. My eyes 
are full of tears, I am thinking of the pain that I am causing you, 
but if my shame was to be prevented from becoming public, and you 
were to be given time to reflect and act, I could not postpone any 
longer the confession that I owe you. If your affection for me, 
which I know is extremely deep, is good enough to grant me a 
small allowance, I will go and settle with my husband anywhere 
you like, in Switzerland, for instance. His name is so obscure that 
no one would recognize in Madame Sorel, the daughter-in-law of a 
Verrieres' carpenter, your daughter. That is the name which I 
have so much difficulty in writing. I fear your wrath against Julien, 
it seems so justified. I shall not be a duchess, my father ; but I 
knew it when I loved him ; for I was the one who loved him first, 
it was I who seduced him. I have inherited from you too lofty a 
soul to fix my attention on what either is or appears to be vulgar. 
It is in vain that I thought of M. Croisenois with a view to pleasing 
you. Why did you place real merit under my eyes ? You told me 
yourself on my return from Hyeres, ' that young Sorel is the one 
person who amuses me,' the poor boy is as grieved as I am if it is 
possible, at the pain this letter will give you. I cannot prevent you 
being irritated as a father, but love me as a friend. 

" Julien respected me. If he sometimes spoke to me, it was only 
by reason of his deep gratitude towards yourself, for the natural 
dignity of his character induces him to keep to his official capacity 
in any answers he may make to anyone who is so much above him. 
He has a keen and instinctive appreciation of the difference of 
social rank. It was I (I confess it with a blush to my best friend, 
and I shall never make such a confession to anyone else) who 
clasped his arm one day in the garden. 

" Why need you be irritated with him, after twenty-four hours 
have elapsed ? My own lapse is irreparable. If you insist on it, 
the assurance of his profound respect and of bis desperate grief at 


having displeased you, can be conveyed to you through me. You 
need not see him at all, but I shall go and join him wherever he 
wishes. It is his right and it is my duty. He is the father of my 
child. If your kindness will go so far as to grant us six thousand 
francs to live on, I will receive it with gratitude ; if not, Julien 
reckons on establishing himself at Besancon, where he will set up 
as a Latin and literature master. However low may have been the 
station from which he springs, I am certain he will raise himself. 
With him I do not fear obscurity. If there is a revolution, I am 
sure that he will play a prime part. Can you say as much for any 
of those who have asked for my hand ? They have fine estates, 
you say. I cannot consider that circumstance a reason for 
admiring them. My Julien would attain a high position, even 
under the present regime, if he had a million and my father's 
protection. . . ." 

Mathilde, who knew that the marquis was a man who always 
abandoned himself to his first impulse, had written eight 

"What am I to do?" said Julien to himself while M. de 
la Mole was reading this letter. " Where is (first) my duty ; 
(second) my interest ? My debt to him is immense. Without 
him I should have been a menial scoundrel, and not even 
enough of a scoundrel to be hated and persecuted by the 
others. He has made me a man of the world. The 
villainous acts which I now have to do are (first) less frequent ; 
(second) less mean. That is more than as if he had given me 
a million. I am indebted to him for this cross and the 
reputation of having rendered those alleged diplomatic services, 
which have lifted me out of the ruck. 

" If he himself were writing instructions for my conduct, 
what would he prescribe ? " 

Julien was sharply interrupted by M. de la Mole's old 
valet. " The marquis wants to see you at once, dressed or 
not dressed." The valet added in a low voice, as he walked 
by Julien's side, "He is beside himself: look out!" 



A clumsy lapidary, in cutting this diamond, deprived 
it of some of its most brilliant facets. In the middle 
ages, nay, even under Richelieu, the Frenchman had 
force ofivill. Mirabeau, 

Julien found the marquis furious. For perhaps the first time 
in his life this nobleman showed bad form. He loaded Julien 
with all the insults that came to his lips. Our hero was 
astonished, and his patience was tried, but his gratitude 
remained unshaken. 

"The poor man now sees the annihilation, in a single 
minute, of all the fine plans which he has long cherished in 
his heart. But I owe it to him to answer. My silence tends 
to increase his anger." The part of Tartuffe supplied the 

" I am not an angel. ... I served you well ; you paid 
me generously. ... I was grateful, but I am twenty- 
two. . . . Only you and that charming person understood 
my thoughts in this household." 

" Monster," exclaimed the marquis. " Charming ! Charming, 
to be sure ! The day when you found her charming you ought 
to have fled." 

" I tried to. It was then that I asked permission to leave 
for Languedoc." 

Tired of stampeding about and overcome by his grief, the 
marquis threw himself into an arm-chair. Julien heard him 
whispering to himself, " No, no, he is not a wicked man." 

" No, I am not, towards you," exclaimed Julien, falling on 
his knees. But he felt extremely ashamed of this manifesta- 
tion, and very quickly got up again. 


The marquis was really transported. When he saw this 
movement, he began again to load him with abominable 
insults, which were worthy of the driver of a fiacre. The 
novelty of these oaths perhaps acted as a distraction. 

" What ! is my daughter to go by the name of madame 
Sorel ? What ! is my daughter not to be a duchess ? " Each 
time that these two ideas presented themselves in all their 
clearness M. de la Mole was a prey to torture, and lost all 
power over the movements of his mind. 

Julien was afraid of being beaten. 

In his lucid intervals, when he was beginning to get 
accustomed to his unhappiness, the marquis addressed to 
Julien reproaches which were reasonable enough. " You 
should have fled, sir," he said to him. " Your duty was to 
flee. You are the lowest of men." 

Julien approached the table and wrote : 

" I have found my life unbearable for a long time ; I am putting 
an end to it. I request monsieur the marquis to accept my 
apologies (together with the expression of my infinite gratitude) 
for any embarrassment that may be occasioned by my death in 
his hotel." 

" Kindly run your eye over this paper, M. the marquis," 
said Julien. " Kill me, or have me killed by your valet. It 
is one o'clock in the morning. I will go and walk in the 
garden in the direction of the wall at the bottom." 

" Go to the devil," cried the marquis, as he went away. 

" I understand," thought Julien. " He would not be sorry 
if I were to spare his valet the trouble of killing me. . . . 

"Let him kill me, if he likes; it is a satisfaction which I 
offer him. . . . But, by heaven, I love life. I owe it to 
my son."